Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

Mission accomplished. I did it.

Actually, I've done it all before. This is more of a triumph over old(er) age and a tribute to muscle memory.

I've mentioned before that I am a grandfather several times over. Just like every other grandparent since time immemorial, I love playing with them, then giving them back to their parents.

Oh, we've had the occasional overnight stay, but Grandma  Maria was always there, and she's the most nurturing person I know. Trouble? Go to grandma.

Then Maria said she wanted to do another 5K, and wanted her oldest daughter Aimee to do it with her. I continue to abide by the rule of never running unless someone is chasing me, but that's another story.

What didn't dawn on me until I had written the check to Universal Studios was that this little excursion would leave me responsible for Korie and Carter for most of a morning. I'm still not sure why Aimee would trust me with her precious children — maybe it's my kind, grandfatherly face — but that's exactly what she did.

Carter just turned 2. He's still in diapers. And he's a fireplug — solid muscle, if a 2-year-old can be such a thing.

Korie is almost 5, and is a princess. She's bright, light as a feather (about the same weight as her brother, I believe) and very certain she knows what she wants and when she wants it.

I love them both to death.

But…

Maria and Aimee left the house around 4 a.m. to make the 6 a.m. start of the Minion Run. The plan was that I'd bring the kids to the park around 9, we'd hook up and spend a fun day. Korie loves Minions. Carter loves Paw Patrol, but we'll get to that in a minute.

About 5 a.m., Korie came out of their bedroom looking for her mommy. I was there in a flash and picking her up (I hadn't slept a wink since the girls left, fearing this very scenario).

But Korie was calm, and when I asked if she wanted me to come lay down with her, she nodded and hugged my neck. "I'm winning!" I thought.

I had forgotten just how low that futon is. But we managed, and she even went back to sleep for a while. I watched her and Carter like a hawk, waiting for the first sign that I should do something.

About 6, they both started to stir, and we got up to face the day. I had it all planned out — Paw Patrol on the television and chocolate chip mini-pancakes for breakfast. Those little bags of little pancakes ready to microwave are a modern miracle.

Don't judge.

Then it was time to get clothes on and hit the road. Korie sees getting dressed as a bit of a game, especially if she's already decided what to wear. A little help with the sleeves, and she was ready.

Carter was a different story. I had to change his diaper. It has been at least 15 years since I changed a diaper. But I did it, and it only took 10 minutes or so.

Clothes were next. Picture trying to get clothes on a puppy who wants to see what's going on in the next room. 

Carter's sole desire was to keep watching Paw Patrol, and if that meant twisting and turning so he could see around me, so be it.

Another 15 minutes gone. I got the kids in the car, secured in car seats and finally hit the road about 45 minutes later than planned.

But a sippy cup of milk for Carter and a snack for Korie, and they were satisfied. No screams, or even sniffles. I was going to make the 9 a.m. rendezvous time, I thought.

Then Korie said she had to go potty. "We're almost there," I said. "I can't hold it," she replied.

Off the 101 and straight into Echo Park. Negotiating around the homeless (they have them there too, you know), we found a vacant stall, sanitized the seat and got the job done. She and Carter were both troopers there.

And around 9:30, a pulled into a parking spot in the Universal garage, called mommy and grandma, and delivered the grandchildren safe and sound.

I smiled as the four marched in front of me towards the park. Mission accomplished.

I expect the greatest grandfather trophy any day now.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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