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Both my loyal readers might think that I’ve once again lost myself in the world of Wikipedia but I figured it might be a good idea to start off with a definition. A moment is defined as “a very brief period of time.” Sometimes it’s even less time than it took you to read the aforementioned definition.

Let’s start with moments that last one second. After significant amount of creeping around the internet I discovered that each of us puts in 31,560,000 seconds per year. I’ve been here for 68 years or 2,146,080,000 seconds and fully admit that there are quite a few moments in my existence that have either escaped or are too covered in the dusts of time to recall. But in retrospect it’s amazing how quickly all those moments zipped by.

A memorable moment zipped through our house recently when our eldest granddaughter graduated from high school. As both my loyal readers will attest there really isn’t anything orthodox about the Ulmer clan so we’re all quite thrilled that she made it.

The year was 2000 when she came into our lives and made me a grandpa, and she’s had my heart on a string ever since. She and I have had many wonder-filled moments together and it’s hard to believe that she’s now considered an adult (which is something that I’m still working on). Wow, did that go by fast.

And like any family that has someone graduating from school we put together a shindig. The preparations began about a month before the actual event and involved me catching up on projects that I’ve ignored for a bit over five years. I repainted and rebuilt a portion of the front and back decks, cleaned the garage five or six times, took a load to the dumps, sterilized eight coolers, found seven folding tables, rounded up enough furniture to accommodate the crowd, and then waited for further orders from the master of ceremonies, Renee.

In the meantime, the center of attention, Kelci, was busy trying to complete her coursework so she could officially graduate. Needless to say, our house was somewhat of a madhouse of preparation and Grandma Renee was about as busy as I’ve ever seen her. For a while I wondered if some sort of demon hadn’t possessed her. Not a day passed where she wasn’t gathering, purchasing or planning stuff for the big gig. From what I could tell, she may have emptied the shelves at Party America and Walmart and melted a few credit cards in the process.

After all this preparation the big day came and we headed to the graduation ceremony and the celebration got underway and the plan unfurled without a hitch. Kelci graduated, family and friends showed up for the gig, and everyone seemed to have a great time celebrating.

Kelci’s three grandpas, Jerry, Pat and me, planted ourselves in our shady garage next to the coolers and we really didn’t get up much, but we did share a lot of chatter about how none of us could believe that 18 years had passed so quickly. Each of us has changed her diapers and done all we could, which isn’t much more than hugging her every chance we got, and if it wasn’t for her we’d never have gotten to know each other.

Eventually the party petered out — I’ll just say it was dark — a sense of normalcy returned, and here I am trying to tell you that my 2 billion seconds have left me a boatload of joy-filled precious moments that will always be with me. Like I’ve told both my readers before, I’m just grateful to be here at all and I hope you are, too … carpe momento, or something like that.

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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