I am very fortunate to have both my parents in my life and honestly, I’m not sure how the Carpenter and I could have raised our kids without my mom and dad backing us up.
I have many friends who weren’t as lucky as we have been to have the support of their extended family, so I am reminded often to count my blessings.
Looking back, there have been so many times when my parents have rescued us in a pinch, whether it’s with carpooling, babysitting, moral support (so much moral support), advice, helping out when one of us falls ill, and that time the furnace died and there just wasn’t a surplus of funds to fix it. This was one of just another one of those times, and it’s as special as every other – but this one I won’t forget.
The rugby boy had a game scheduled in Sarnia on a Wednesday night set for 6pm. Like most parents, there was no way I could leave work early enough to make that long distance trek on time. There is no way the Carpenter, who commutes to Toronto every day, was going to do this drive either. We were prepared to bench rugby boy.
When Grandpa Gary found out, he wasn’t going to hear of it. My dad and I share a love of road trips and this was an excuse for him to take one and get some time with his grandson. There was no point in arguing. If Grandpa Gary can make it happen, best to let him.
Sure enough, they arrived in plenty of time for rugby boy to warm up for the game. Grandpa Gary texted me to assure me they were safe and to let me know that our boys didn’t have a full team, but the boys on the opposing team were all present, well fed and unnaturally large.
This was going to be an ugly game, so I asked him to send me some game highlights. The colour commentary of my 75-year-old father, who doesn’t have a clue about rugby, was nothing short of hilarious.
Text one: I’m don’t understand this game, but the other team has been scoring touchdowns, or whatever they call it in rugby, and they have got many, so it’s about 35-0 or something like that. I don’t know what the points are. Not really sure what’s going on. A lot of running.
Me: That’s too bad. In rugby, a goal is called a “try,” not a touch-down. I hope it gets better.
Text two: Well, they sure are trying, but it’s not working so well. These Sarnia kids are big. Our boys keep running the ball up but they just can’t seem to cross the line. It’s not looking good.
Text three: It’s really cold here in Sarnia. I’m freezing.
(Please note it took everything I had not to say, “you should have packed a sweater,” because I’m pretty sure I’ve had that nugget of parental advice more than a few times.)
Text four: Well that was ugly, but it’s over now. I don’t know the final score, but I know it was a shutout or whatever. It’s going to be a long ride home.
Indeed it was for one very tired, smelly rugby boy and his grandfather, who had no idea what he’d just witnessed but was happy his grandson got off the field in one piece. I am grateful for both.