Replaced by Olivia!

Rylin make friends with the neighbor.

Rylin make friends with the neighbor.

Chuck Kurtz

Chuck Kurtz

I don’t like Olivia.

It took a mere two days for Olivia to upset, create turmoil and completely shatter my fun-filled plans for the summer: swimming, playing catch with the Frisbee, taking walks, playing at the parks, going to the library, bowling, fishing, taking in some museums, and simply playing outside in the backyard.

But then Olivia intervened.

Even the occasional relaxation time in the house reading a book or playing music has been disrupted by Olivia.

Everything suddenly has changed. And I don’t like it!

It was one day last week when a crack appeared in what had become my pretty comfortable and routine life watching granddaughters Rylin and Ashlyn. Every Monday through Friday afternoon, I arrive at my son’s home just before 3 when he has to leave for work, play with Ashlyn and then walk to school and wait for Rylin who is in kindergarten. We walk home, I fix them snacks (some that drives my son crazy), we talk about their day and then we play; sometimes reading books, sometimes playing board games, sometimes singing or making up stories and then acting them out in the front room. When it’s nice, we go outside and play.

But on a recent Saturday afternoon, when wife Terri and I stopped by their home, Rylin, standing on her swing set, and a neighbor girl, peeking over the backyard fence, began talking. Soon Rylin came running into the house asking her mom if the little girl could come over and play.

She did and within minutes, not only was that little girl in the yard playing, but then there were three more little girls (one of them was Olivia) and then four boys. The yard was filled with kids, running, swinging, playing, laughing. Rylin was having a great time and Ashlyn was doing her best trying to keep up.

“How nice,” I thought at the time. “Rylin’s making friends with the neighbor kids.”

The following Monday after we walked home from school. I fixed the snacks. We talked about the day. We went outside to play.

And then…

“Hi Rylin!”

It was Olivia yelling from across the fence from her backyard. Rylin asked if Olivia could come over and play. Who was I to say no? And they had a great time while I watched sipping a cup of coffee.

But then…

Every day since, Rylin has been anxious to get home from school, scarfing down her snacks and then dashing outside looking across the fence waiting for Olivia to come outside. We even have had to change the way we walk home from school so that Rylin and Olivia can walk together, which they did Monday walking down the sidewalk with their arms across each other’s shoulders.

Yesterday I asked Rylin if she would like to read a book.


“How about playing with the Frisbee?” I asked.


“Want me to tell a story and then we can act it out?” I asked.

“No…Can I go outside now?”

She did and there was Olivia waiting for her.

I watched as she ran out the door and the two of them started playing on the swing set.

“Aren’t you going to go play with them, too?” I asked Ashlyn.

“No…Can I have some more apple?” she replied.

Cutting up the apple, I watched Rylin and Olivia play. They came into the house and ran downstairs to the play area. I could hear them talking, laughing and having fun. Then they ran back up the stairs and outside again.

It was then I realized I had been replaced by Olivia. I knew it would happen eventually; that Rylin would begin making friends with other kids and start playing with them. I know it will happen with Ashlyn, too, and eventually with their new brother scheduled to be here sometime in the next few weeks.

But knowing it’s going to happen, doesn’t make it any easier to be replaced and demoted from grandpa to simply being a babysitter!

I don’t like Olivia!

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