I'm here to confess. I wasn't a very good parent. Now, it's been said. My children, on the other hand, grew up to be very nice people: self-sufficient, well-educated, productive members of society. Although I take credit for all of these achievements (when they aren't around), I know that I lacked in some ways. The area of my greatest failing is Athletics. Soccer wasn't even a twinkle in the minds of good parents until about the time my oldest daughter made it to elementary school. I found out weeks after the official sign-up that Number One Daughter had declined the registration slip telling the teacher that "We don't believe in it." Might I say, the girl is gifted. I'm not sure why Number Two never got involved. Neither played soccer or even softball in those evening and summer leagues. Both girls did join athletics in junior high and as I remember it they were quite good team managers. I guess I could have attended and yelled, "That-a- way to write down that foul!!!" They, now, hold it against me that I didn't follow the team. Like most grandparents, I'm trying to make up for it. This past weekend, I attended my first soccer game and First Communion. Although the events were both on the same day, they were not simultaneous nor were they in the same location. Like a good grandparent, I was thrilled to be in attendance at both. The midmorning church service was lovely last Saturday with all of the little girls in white dresses and the boys in suits.

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Her group included about fifty of the most serious little angels I've ever seen. White satin ribbons, tulle veils, tiny-heeled slippers, and clean fingernails. The parents and grandparents, in true paparazzi form, snapped pictures as each went forward for the big event. But, the frills and curls were gone that afternoon after lunch, when with shin pads and soccer balls, we headed to the soccer game. The parents, who had been arriving in waves all day, parked in a mammoth sea of SUVs and trudged with lawn-chairs in-hand to the appointed rectangles in the monstrous quilt of playing fields. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. However, all of the parents and some of the team members did know what was going on. Half the team played each quarter. The other quarters, those not playing, sat on quilts along the side-lines and played with lady-bugs and butterflies until it was time to go in for another quarter. Surprising my granddaughter was pretty good at finding lady bugs. She was also good at kicking the ball, running with the pack, and recognizing her friends on the other team. She managed to take time out to speak to them and to their parents during lulls in the game when the ball was at the other end of the field. I really got into the game and was yelling loudly to encourage her team, when she signaled that I should be quiet. As we headed to the car, Little Sister snuggled up to me and told me she was glad I came. She then asked me if I could come back next week for her communion and soccer game. It seems she has a school program in Mid-May and a soccer game the next day. I'll be there.