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When it comes to delivery, they cannot be beaten

When it comes to making deliveries, and meeting those all-important deadlines, UPS, Fed-Ex and DHL have nothing on parents.

My wife and I just returned from a weekend trip to New York and New Jersey. She stayed in New York City for a girls’ weekend and I went to New Jersey to stay with friends.

Our friends, Mike and Sissy, have three children. James is a freshman in high school, Hannah is 12 and Raymond just turned 8.

While I do not have children, I know it isn’t easy to raise them, but I didn’t know how much it involved until this trip.

The first thing I noticed was a calendar on their kitchen wall. It’s the kind with the little squares for each of the days so you can make notes to yourself about who has to be where and when they have to be there.

Their calendar looked like a foreign language to me. It had so much information packed into each of those little squares that it was nearly impossible to decipher. Of course they knew what each and every entry, and each abbreviation meant.

I have always made it clear to my friends that just because I am visiting is no reason for them to change their family plans. They need to maintain whatever schedule they are on during that time. And that’s what we did this time.

Take for, example, Saturday.

Sissy was up early in order to get James to his school for a bus ride to an away soccer game.

She returned home and packed an overnight bag so she could go into the “city” and stay with my wife and the other girls.

Later that morning, Mike and I loaded Hannah and Raymond into the mini-van and headed out to Hannah’s soccer game.

About halfway through that contest, in which Hannah scored the only goal and her team defeated an unbeaten rival, Mike left to take Raymond to a nearby town for his soccer game.

After Hannah’s game, we drove to see the end of Raymond’s. I don’t think they actually keep score of the games at Raymond’s age, but it is still just as intense. He played in the goal that day and stopped a ton of shots. His coach even called him a “brick wall,” which became his nickname the rest of the weekend.

Following that contest, we returned to their house. After a quick lunch, during which time we talked with James about his team’s win that day, Mike and Hannah left to go buy a birthday gift for one of her teammates, who was having a party and sleepover that night.

They returned in about 90 minutes.

After about an hour’s down time, Mike drove his oldest son to a friend’s house and then came back, loaded Hannah up, and took her to the party.

The kids are also involved in many other school and church functions, and Raymond just recently entered the Cub Scouts.

I don’t know how many miles my friends put on their cars each year, but I can imagine it is in the tens of thousands with all the running around they have to do.

And on top of all of this, Mike works a full-time job and Sissy is going to school working on her nursing degree.

I have often said I couldn’t do it. I truly believe it takes a special person, or people, to have and raise children. And these two seem to have what it takes.

From what Martha and I can see, the kids are turning out good. Sure, there are problems. There are always problems with siblings. But nobody has killed or seriously injured anyone, and that’s a good thing.

Hang in there guys – only 10 more years and Raymond will fly from the nest and you can relax.

Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com or 934-9603.