01 November 2014

Grandmas are Universal

Many of you know my grandma died last month.  I'm sad.  Grandpa is sad.  We're all sad.  I miss her terribly but consider myself beyond lucky to have been her granddaughter for 40+ years.  She was one of my favorite people.  Ever.  From her I inherited my gift of gab, my affinity for pretty bracelets and a kick-butt pretzel salad recipe.  But it's what she's given me since her death that is the most surprising.

First, you should know that part of my job entails working one-on-one with students.  One day I may be listening to someone read and the next day I may have to administer a test because someone was absent the day before.  Every day is different and I'm pretty sure that's why I like it so much.  I mean, why else would I willingly set an alarm and get up and leave the house each day in something besides yoga pants and a Disney Cruise Line sweatshirt?

The day before I left for Grandma's funeral I was working with one particular boy who likes to do anything EXCEPT what he is supposed to be doing. If procrastination was an Olympic sport, this kid would be champion of the world.  He frequently asks about my children, has drawn me multiple pictures and has even distracted me by talking about coffee (yes, he's THAT good).  If I can get a solid 15 straight minutes of work out of him, I consider it a success.  The procrastination was cute for a while but then it got downright frustrating.  I had tried everything in my arsenal....and my arsenal wasn't working.  I was getting ready to throw in the towel, resigned to the fact that he and I would never make a connection and the school year would be a wash.  And then this happened:

As we were finishing for the day, I told my student, "Just so know, I won't be here tomorrow.  I will have a sub, but I'll be back on Monday."

"No fair!  Where are you going?!  Take me with you!"

"Well, my Grandma died yesterday.  I'm going to her funeral."


"I am so sorry.  After I finish my work, maybe you could tell me about her."

I don't know what shocked me more...the fact that a 9-year-old boy was selfless enough to try and comfort me or the fact that he said he was going to finish his work!

He did finish his work that day.  And he's finished it (for the most part) every day since then.  And he's also asked me how I am doing every day since then, too.  Some days he pats me on the back when he walks by and some days he'll just come up and give me a hug.  And in the days since I've been back, he's told me bit and pieces about his Grandma.  It turns out his Grandma is one of his favorite people, too.  She likes to wear diamond earrings, she takes him shopping for new shoes, and apparently she makes a mean chicken patty sandwich.

So yes, I miss my Grandma.  I miss not being able to call her and tell her something funny my kids did or said.  I miss hearing her laugh.  And I miss teasing her about being a Cubs fan.  But thanks to her, I have a new reason smile.  Thanks to Grandma, I've inherited a new tool in my arsenal.  And I'm not afraid to use it.

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