By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Wyatt & Rebel are living proof of the fact life is — and always will be – a long game
Wyatt Page checking out a Radio Flyer tricycle.

It’s finally happened.

I’m 67 years old and rocking back and forth.

No, I haven’t checked into a rest home.

From where I was swaying gently back and forth on Sunday I could see the Diablo Range across fertile farmland west of the San Joaquin River.

There’s still plenty of gas left in the tank.

I intend to spend this summer hiking armed with a snow ax above 9,000 feet in the Sierra.

There’s nothing on this earth that is more exhilarating to experience.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

It’s awful tough to top the giggling sound of your great-granddaughter giving you a push on a swing hanging by chains from a sturdy tree while your great-grandson channels Dennis the Menace zipping around Nana’s front yard.

Rebel thinks its great that she has turned the tables on me.

Each time she puts her hands on the small of my back and pushes me forward, she laughs.

Every so often, she’ll gleefully announce “Papa is swinging.”

An astute observation for a young lady closing in on age 3.

Her younger cousin Wyatt isn’t far behind when it comes to piling on the years.

Usually, I’m the designated pusher.

The thrill of the swing is usually a flashpoint when it comes to the two young cousins learning the art of sharing.

It is the one activity that can hold their attention for 10 minutes or more while they try to burn off more energy than is under the hood of a 1992 Mach 3 Mustang as the engine is being revved.

The directions both Rebel and Wyatt give me is short, sweet, and repeated often: “Higher.”

I once could never imagine a world where I would call two others great-grandkids.

Now, I can’t imagine a world in which I don’t.

It wasn’t too long ago that their aunt Ashley was their age and had me completely wrapped around her little finger.

Ashley would sit down in her high chair to enjoy her favorite snack of macaroni and cheese along with sweet peas.

She’d always managed to make sure the mac and cheese with chopped up pieces of ham made it into their intended target.

But the peas, after she picked up a few with her fingers and dropped them into her mouth, would end up being thrown on the floor.

And like clockwork, I’d retrieve the tossed peas from the floor and place them back in the small bowl atop the chair tray.

Ashley would then toss them on the floor again.

This went on for a good part of a week.

Then her Nana let me in on a little secret after I  shared my frustrations of trying to get Ashley to eat her peas.

Ashley was playing a game.

And I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Whoever said kids weren’t smart, obviously never had grandkids.

Rebel’s dad was a rooting tooting live version of Sheriff Woody Pride.

That’s when Rein wasn’t busy pedaling along side me on “epic rides” as a 7-year-old down the Tidewater Bikeway while excitedly telling me how he was going to bicycle with me on my next 100-mile Saturday ride.

Then there was Wyatt’s mom.

Nothing could stop Katelyn.

Fear wasn’t in her vocabulary — still isn’t.

There was never an obstacle that she believed she couldn’t overcome with hard work.

But more important, everything in the world was a joy to Katelyn at age 9 as it is now.

Two decades or so ago, I was taken aback when someone informed me that Ashley, Rein, and Katelyn weren’t my grandkids.

They told me they weren’t blood.

My reaction?

I told them they were a shallow idiot.

Now, 20 years later, I was I had been blunt.

The answer should have been one word: Moron.

I was lucky from the get go.

When I walked down the aisle with Cynthia, I also got a daughter and granddaughter at the same time.

A lot has happened in the 30 years since then.

Some of it bad.

A lot of it good.
But that’s life.

I count my blessings that someone — perhaps my mother or grandmother — had instilled in me the wisdom to see beyond the darkness and focus on the light.

It is why 18 years after the “D” word was uttered, Cynthia and I are still the best of friends.

Things happen.

But you never should lose sight of what brought you together in the first place.

Wyatt and Rebel are living proof of the fact life is — and always will be – a long game.

Bumps in the road and dark moments are just that — bumps and moments.

News that both Rebel and Wyatt now have siblings on the way shows what lies ahead makes such bumps and moments inconsequential as time goes on.

One day perhaps when Rebel and Wyatt are closing in on 12, I may be fortunate enough to see the same eyes that sparkle with joy today soak in the grandeur of God’s creation as we day hike along the Sierra crest.

Such moments can be just as life defining as the joy in being able to master reading or getting the art of tying one’s own shoelaces down pat.

It’s a joy that I want them to be able to experience.

I admit, there is a selfish motive.

I doubt that I’ll ever again just see the Sierra and other natural and manmade wonders of California as background scenery for my life instead of being all inspiring.
Even so, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as viewing life’s various offerings for the first time through the eyes of a child or that of a young person.

For they see the world for what it is.

It’s not a place burdened down with fear and loss.

Instead, it is filled with wonder and challenges.

It’s a beautiful place.

Wyatt and Rebel now that.

And that’s the greatest gift a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild can give you.

Life — despite its drawbacks — is  wonderful.


 This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at