I have a young friend whose Mom died several years ago. Since then I’ve tried to do some of the things her mother would have done for her. The Elementary School her boys attend had days last week where Grandparents could come and eat lunch with their grandchildren. The night he brought the invitation home, her third-grader asked her if she would call me and see if I could come be his grandma.
|Chicken McNuggets |
We walked down the hallway to the lunchroom and sat at the table reserved for his class. I was surrounded by third graders; some with lunch boxes packed at home, some with a school lunch tray holding a fish cake, fries, an apple and milk. Eight of the sixteen kids at the table had a school lunch. I saw a lot of waste as they finished eating and went to the trash cans to clean off their trays.
Conversation around the table centered on the McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces on the drinks and food I brought. Justin is collecting the game pieces and knows which ones he has and which ones he still needs. Of the six we collected from our meal, none were new for him but he did get a free order of fries on his next visit. One little girl told a wild story about someone in her family winning $1,000.00, but when the lady went to claim it, they only gave her $100. Much drama ensued as the kids hearing this story began sharing what they would do if that happened to them.
On Thursday, I repeated this routine and went to eat with Justin’s brother who is in the fifth grade. Cameron was glad to see me, and I received a beautiful smile as a welcome gift. The Fifth Graders are the Upperclassmen at the Elementary School and have extra privileges such as choice of seating at lunch. It was a lovely autumn day so we went outside to a patio filled with picnic tables.
We were soon joined by another classmate. I listened as the two of them joked playfully with each other and recounted tales of sleepover adventures. I asked other boy if he had any brothers or sisters. His reply broke my heart, “I have two sisters but I haven’t seen them in five years. I haven’t seen my birth Mom in five years either. They live away from here. I live with my Dad, but my Grandma takes care of me most of the time because Dad goes over to Anna’s house.”Anna is his girlfriend.
I bought both of them some ice
cream to complete the meal and the teacher signaled it was time to go back to
class. I got permission for Cameron to take me to Justin’s room so we could
give him the six McDonald’s game pieces we retrieved from the day’s lunch. These
brothers don’t see as much of each other now that Justin lives with his Mom and
Cameron lives with his Dad. I took their picture together and we all went back
to our regular routines.
|Cameron and Justin|
I learned much from rubbing elbows with these young people, and this was just the beginning of my education. Tune in next week to hear the rest of the story and a summary of what they taught me.
In the meantime, bring joy to someone today-