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Ryan just turned five in February. He lives in Las Vegas so we do not see him nearly enough. But his parents flew in for a wedding in Indiana recently and had asked if we, his grandparents, would mind taking care of him for a few days. “Mind?” we said. “You must be kidding!”

Ryan was all ours for an entire weekend.

Of course he wanted to go to Indiana with his parents but as soon as they pulled out of the driveway he made himself right at home. Unfortunately, in the very next hour the weather turned around and we did not see the sun again for the rest of the weekend. All of our fun-thing plans shifted immediately, so our time with him turned into a happening. We potted pansies, baked pumpkin bread, went out to breakfast, took in a couple of movies and spent some magical hours at the Kohl’s Children Museum on Sunday. In between, Ryan had some Wii games to keep him busy and to help us catch our breath.

Of course the time went much too fast…for us. Ryan kept asking when Mommy and Daddy were coming back but accepted our answers without any fuss. As a matter of fact, now that I think of it, Ryan made no fuss at all over the weekend. How’s that for a five-year old! (Grandpa’s boasting.)

For me, the best time was bedtime. Getting Ryan into his ‘jammies was a cinch. After he jumped into bed, I would read to him, or rather help him read to me a book about a bunny left in a laundromat. Settling down, Ryan would sniffle a bit for his Mommy but I would sing “Red Sails in the Sunset,” improvising “bring Mommy and Daddy home safely to me” and he would snuggle up and fall asleep.

But that was not the end of it. Sometime around midnight or a bit later, Ryan found his way into our bed. He scrunched up against me, tumbling around just a bit before getting back to dreamland.

The best part was yet to come. Waking up became a wrestling match, Ryan’s laughter filling in for the sunlight that was still gone missing. “Grampa!” he’d shout, pounding my belly while I tossed him this way and that until he would eventually pin me. Then he’d run off and into the day, taking us with him.

Of course his parents returned much too soon.

I still remember vividly when our son was born – and the almost sacred sense of life he gave us, as did our two daughters who followed. But grandchildren, I easily believe, give us that as well as something even more precious – a hint of immortality. They give us the feeling of stretching out our days much further than we dare imagine.

Ryan filled a cold, damp weekend with all of those feelings – and so much more.