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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Parenthood is full of challenges. We met a big one this month.

Telling my younger son that his beloved paternal grandmother had died was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. There were tears, and tough questions, and days of raw emotions that aren’t going to go away any time soon.

Dealing with requests from my older son to “go see grandma” when he just doesn’t get it is even worse. Telling him that grandma isn’t there now just gets: “Go see grandma next week!” She’s always been there for him. How could this change? He does not understand.

I spent days going through photos for a slideshow at the wake. Eighty-some years’ worth of meticulously labeled photographs, showing a life well-lived. A happy childhood and youth, world travel as a young woman, marriage and family and happiness and loss. Here’s a photo with the first grandchild, my oldest niece. There are tears in her eyes. Here’s a photo of her cradling Jim in the NICU. Here she is, beaming, with small, cranky Sam.

There are Christmas photos, Mother’s Day photos, photos for no particular reason. Here she is reading to Jim ... he grows from a tiny toddler to a gangling pre-teen who barely fits on her lap. Here she is learning how to play MarioKart with Sam. (She was always up for a challenge.)

I am full of words. I have no words for this.

But this holiday season, hug your family members. Remember that life is short ... even when it’s long. And that none of us is promised the next breath we take. Things can change quickly. The most valuable thing of all is time, and the saddest thing is regret.

Remember that, this Christmas.


Our holiday traditions have changed year to year as the boys get older, but there’s one we maintain every Christmas season.

The Herschell Carrrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda will host its Santa on the Carrousel event from noon to 3 p.m. the next three Saturdays at the museum at 180 Thompson St. The cost is $6 per person. There are crafts and games and snacks, and Santa Claus himself rides the carrousel while listening to children’s Christmas requests. Each day also has a special show or performance at 1 p.m.
Those who wish to have lunch with Santa can opt for $10 tickets that include an 11 a.m. to noon meal and admission to the afternoon festivities. Registration and prepayment is required for lunch with Santa. Visit for more information.

+Jill Keppeler wants you to go hug your parents, if you can. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at

East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.

1 comment:

  1. Well written! My parents are 76 and 80 and can't imagine life without them even though I know the day will come. I get very teary eyed even thinking about it... Sometimes they drive me a little crazy but then again didn't I do the same to them? Hugs time spent and I love you mean more then any present under the tree. I'm glad I realized this within the last 10 years as I was the last child born to them late in their lives. I'm so grateful for the life they blessed me with.


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