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Then the grandchildren become teenagers

Sue Staton

This month I have two grandchildren who have a birthday.

Olivia, our youngest grandchild, turned 10 on Oct. 9. It has always been amazing to me how quickly she learns, and how beautiful and talented she is.

I have written about her several times and my love for her just continues to grow.

This week I am going to focus on her cousin, Hayden Halas Cecil.

Hayden will turn 13 Oct. 24, and I am still trying to figure out where the years have gone. Even though I have been around him more than all of the other grandchildren, it still seems as though he should be the little boy in the picture with me when he was about 4 years old.

I have to admit Hayden stole my heart at birth. From that time on, I no longer felt the desire to write in a diary. Now, I had kept a diary from the time I had been a teenager, so this in itself is big to me.

Why this happened I have no idea. All I can say is I have been smitten by that little boy ever since his birth.

He and I have a connection that I do not have with the other grandchildren. Hayden understands me more, I think. We can have so much fun together. I would just as soon spend a day with him as anyone else on earth.

I have never laughed harder with anyone than I have with him. He has such a knack for getting me tickled. It has become a game with him telling me, “I bet you can’t make me laugh.”

In reality, he knows I will, no matter how hard he tries not to. He has always had wit and been able to get me tickled. The hardest I ever laughed in my life was when he dressed up as Santa Claus. You would have had to be there.

I laughed so hard I thought I was going to die. My asthma kicked in and I had to beg him to stop getting me tickled.

Hayden knows his Nana is one of his biggest fans but also his hardest teacher. He knows I will pull no strings with him and when I start counting, I had better not get to the number three. Luckily, I never have to. I got there one time and he got a spanking. He knows when Nana is serious.

Hayden is a good kid at 13. My prayer is like that of every parent and grandparent: that he will stay that way. Only time will tell.

I know I have set him up on a very high pedestal. I also know he is not perfect, and I hope that he will learn from his mistakes when he makes them and that they are very few.

I am proud his mom and dad are teaching him to work hard. Hayden has asked me and his Papa if he can begin mowing our yard next year so he can save his money. We have told him “Yes!” I am not for young people being lazy and not learning to work.

While I think my siblings and I may have had to work too hard growing up, I still see the times in my life that it was a plus.

I still do not like to see kids just getting things handed to them without having to work for them or not respecting the people who gave them what they receive.

Another thing Hayden and I have in common is the fact that he loves to travel. He has been blessed to have got to visit several states this early in life.

I was so happy he got to experience going to West Point in New York where his Pop on his dad’s side, Jerry Cecil, took him for spring break. What an experience to see West Point from his Pop’s point of view and see where he had graduated.

When Hayden was young, his dad used to wish he would like sports. I do not think it would be possible for Hayden to enjoy sports any more, since his extra spare time is spent viewing all sports.

He seems to know all about every game and the players. I think if he were to pick a dream profession at 13 it would probably be that of being a professional soccer player.

While Hayden no longer begs me to tell him a bed time story about Geoffrey Mouse that I made the story up as I went along, he still enjoys hearing me tell stories about my growing up years and my life as a kid.

If I could plan his life, it would be me getting to see him grow old. I know that plan will not be feasible, but I think he knows his Nana will always be with him and love him forever.

I want life to be good to him and when it is not, to be able to stand when he gets knocked down. I want him to draw his strength from the Lord and to never forget God is the best friend he can have.

I hope your teenage years are wonderful, Hayden.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.