It's been a really long time since I've had to worry about getting someone, other than myself, up and out the door before I've had at least three cups of coffee. It's been an even longer time since I packed a school lunch. Don't even get me started on homework.

We were asked to watch the two oldest grandkids while the parents skipped town for some much needed down time. After three days of living in their shoes for a normal weekday schedule, I understand why. After my kids no longer needed me for the routine of school and extracurricular activities, I missed the chaos, but not so much I'd want to jump back on the big yellow bus.

The kindergartener and third grader didn't tote around school books, as they had their own laptop. It's called a Chromebook and it holds everything from their homework assignments to educational games. I suppose that's a good thing, although I'd think a textbook would hold up a lot better under spilled milk than an electronic device.

I was in charge of getting the third grader to dance practice and although I offered to put her hair up in a bun, she politely declined. I can't say I blame her, with how my hair looks most of the time. Papa took the boy to soccer practice and we barely passed each other during the three-day stint.

I gave them the choice of either riding the bus to and from school, or, I offered up my chauffeur service. Apparently being a car rider is the preferred method of transportation and being new to this gig, I relied on the kids to direct me to the car rider line. Dropping them off in the morning was a piece of cake, picking them up was a different story.

Once you've parked in the car rider line, the kids being picked up have to wait at the designated area until you reach the point to load them up. It's a process with at least 50 cars inching ahead to load, lock and go. The first day for pickup I arrived 20 minutes early, just to be sure I got a place in line. I was the fifth car and when the kids walked out of school, their faces lit up like I had just bought them a pony. "Cool," the boy said. "You're fifth in line." Who knew I could be this cool.

Wanting to make an even bigger impression I was determined to try and be even closer the next day, so I arrived 30 minutes early and was third in line. This time the girl, who is as serious as a true ballerina, smiled and even let out a giggle. Wow, I knew I had to be first in line on the third and final day of pickup, so I arrived 45 minutes early and sure enough I was first in line. Not only did I make their day, I finished reading my book. They let me know their mom would never be first in line and I let them know, that's what grandparents are for.

When they got in the car all smiles and giggles, I turned around and said, "how do you like them apples?" They both looked in the back seat to find the apples.

Kids these days.


Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at