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It's ticket to heaven and triple the fun for great-grandmom

It is my pleasure to announce that we, Arnie and Claire Mitchel, feel great, great, great.

Thanks go to our granddaughter who, last Friday, presented us with a great-grandchild and another great-grandchild and still another great-grandchild. Yep. Triplets. Hannah, Ava and Noah were incubated well to viability by Deena, who delivered three healthy infants. Our small family in one day had a population explosion.

She calls it a labor-saving device. Mother and babies are doing fine. Daddy David has temporarily set aside worrying how he will educate three kids at one time in the rush of the immediacy of things to do now. And there are many. Imagine, last week we were ordinary folks in the Third Third, concerned as we all are about our cholesterol levels, blood pressure and contrary joints and limbs.

Today we have a new, vaunted status - great-grandparents of a trio. It's a bit ostentatious, but we'll accept that. My first-born, my little girl who I birthed and raised for two years while her father was fighting in World War II, is now a grandmother.

My cup runneth, not over, but it's pretty full. The importance of this event is significant. There's a mythology legend that great-grand-parenthood is, in itself, an automatic pass into heaven.

When we will come knocking at the pearly gates we won't be questioned about our performance as mortals on earth. What freedom! To the third power The legend has it that each generation of offspring is part of a rope on which we climb up to heaven. Our children were one strand, our grandchildren another, and now, great-grandchildren render the strongest rope - in this case, strength to the third power.

In today's terms, though, the importance of leaving behind three great-grandchildren who, we trust, can dip into the deep gene pool and come up with the best of so many good people to use as role models, is awesome. The three great-grandchildren were born last week, and Cincinnati is far and cold. Their mother wants to bond with her family before the onslaught of company.

We'll go up as soon as the robins sing in Fountain Square. The babies should be on a roll by then and we should be able to hold them close and admire what, we're promised, and believe, are beautiful children. The wee ones were born prematurely, but are gaining fast. Hannah Sky weighed in at 5 pounds, 4 ounces; Ava Dorit came at 4 pounds, 3 ounces; their brother Noah Sam, the runt, arrived at a mere 3 pounds, 4 ounces. But he's just getting started and will probably soon outweigh the girls.

Destined to be spoiled Yes, their parents were impatient. Yes, their mother was on fertility assistance. Yes, the babies were very much wanted and will be adored and spoiled by all. For us it was easy: no pain, just gain.

We waited and, after what seemed like a long, long, long time were rewarded in triplicate. It is a thrill merely to have lived long enough to witness this happening. We realize we are mortal and have, in the Third Third, come close to the end of the road. Yet to know that we will live on through these new little humans who will carry on from where we leave off, is a great joy.

This is real family values. Arnie and I are so pleased that our daughter and son are carrying on traditions that were important when they grew up, and have passed these on to their kids. Whether we see them often or not, when we do we're filled with pleasure and pride at the progeny we've spawned. This is truly an extended family.

New generation, new life, new hopes, new dreams, new possibilities. It's not my usual style but, since hearing the news, I've been taking a nap. I've earned the right to relax, to introspect, to sit back and bask in the light of what my children and grandchildren have produced. Triple the joy, triple the pleasure, triple the fun. Can't imagine a greater gift than to be a great-grandmother, great-grandmother, great-grandmother. None.