Wasn’t it just last week I had my bathing suit on and was headed down to the Summerset pool for a swim? Yet, today I am preparing food for our Chanukah and Christmas celebrations. Where does the time go?

I am very thankful for the opportunity to share the holidays with family and friends, but I scratch my head constantly wondering what happened to those little babies tearing into presents and hiding while they ate a whole plastic candy cane filled with chocolates. Thank goodness for the videos that take us back for a few moments.

My oldest grandchild is 30. Yes, I know, it’s incredible to me, too, but there you have it. For the years she was in elementary school up through high school, Grandpa and I sat through every concert, play and musical production she was in. Some were funny, like her role in "Honk," while others were quite serious, as in the time she played both a NYC policewoman and a Muslim woman in a post-9/11 drama. No matter what it was, she could depend on seeing us in the audience, smiling with pride at her theatrical talents. I laughed when she told me she based her accent for the NYC cop on my speech. I guess my Brooklynese was inspirational.

We have attended dozens — if not hundreds — of these plays, musicals, sports, cheer competitions, graduations, talent shows and any other function we were invited to by the gaggle of grands we have. I think we may have missed only a few, and those were when we were out of town. I look back over my calendar each year about this time and make sure I have every important date marked off in my new one and giggle to myself when I see these sweet and memorable times with the grandkids.

Since a lot of the peanut gang is older and have begun their adult lives, I look forward to seeing the ones who are still involved with their school programs. Being retired has its benefits, which makes it easy for us to be at these venues.

I have literally sat on everything, including the floor and those tiny chairs at the preschool, benches and bleachers for sporting events and folding chairs for concerts. Thank goodness for backs on the chairs! Camera in hand and ready to go, I watch with excited anticipation for the curtain to open, revealing one of my little ones searching the audience and smiling when they see us. Some even wave.

This past week, we had a full day at Krey Elementary School. Our 10-year-old was multitasking in the entertainment category that day. First, she played the saxophone in the holiday concert and, although she was perfect with every note, the saxophone was almost as big as her. A quick break for lunch, and then we returned to the school to catch the premier of A Christmas Carol, starring our girl as Bob Cratchit. The hat, scarf and torn gloves were highly authentic and, again, the little actress was spot on. We could not have been prouder of “Bob.”

We are grateful and excited to see them grow and thrive; I just wish they would do it a little slower!

When Grandpa or the kids ask me what I want for Christmas, I tell them the same thing every year: “I want more time with you.” I want all of these special memories to continue and to share unlimited hugs. I want my family and friends to feel love and happiness, along with good health. I want stress and anxiety to take a hike, replaced with peace and joy. I want people to remember that life is a gift, short and fleeting, and we should make every day count — not just during the holidays, but all year round.

I want my readers to have all of these things I wish for myself and my family, and that I can continue to reach out to you all with wishes for a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Kwanzaa. No matter what you celebrate, enjoy every moment.

As for those little ones, Christmas Eve is still a grand affair with all the trimmings at our home. The very best part is the house filled with laughter, and those precious, unending hugs!

Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at marla2054@aol.com.