All I Still Need to Know I’m Learning from My Grandson

By DOTTY CRONAN | Jan 24, 2018

It’s now the fourth day of being snowed in and I’m reminiscing about better days, like fall of 2017; it was still warm! I could go for walks and take my grandson to the park. Ah, those are now my fondest memories.

On one of those glorious days, with a cool breeze and warm sunshine waltzing on my face and leaves crunching beneath my feet, I peacefully waited for the hug I’d receive when my 6-year-old grandson came flying off the school bus. About five minutes before the bus arrived, I fiddled with the thin silver chain around my neck that had gotten snagged on the back of my shirt. May, the sweet lady from the house by the bus stop, came to my rescue and successfully unlatched the chain and got it untangled. Unfortunately, to ruin a perfectly lovely day, I proceeded to drop one end of the chain as May handed it back to me and my beautiful silver cross slid off to the ground and got lost in the dead grass and leaves.

May and I searched in vain for the cross of my precious Savior, given to me by my precious husband years ago. Three minutes, four minutes, five minutes of searching and Raymond came running up to me. “Grandma, why are you and May crawling on the ground?”

“Well,” I explained, “Grandma lost her special cross from Grandpa. It fell right around here and we’ve been searching and praying, but can’t find it.” Raymond immediately dropped to the ground and joined the search party. After five more unsuccessful minutes, I asked Raymond to say a prayer.

“OK. God help us find Grandma’s cross.’” Bingo, after a few short moments I spotted it among the leaves, right in the middle of the search zone. As soon as I credited Raymond as the finder, my humble little grandson proclaimed, “No, Grandma, not me; God found the cross.” That day, I learned that I needed to have the faith of a child.

“Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:3.

With my beautiful cross at my throat and Raymond’s hand in mine, we trotted off to the neighborhood park where he proceeded to demonstrate how to use every piece of exercise equipment. Even though he couldn’t reach any of the pedals, he found a way to get every single one to do something. Persistence pays off. Now if only I follow his instructions I can get some pounds off.

While we walked to my house, about a Frisbee throw from his, I told him, “There’s going to be a surprise at my house and it’s not a toy.” He insisted he didn’t want any hints and that he’d be able to find it.

“Oh, Grandma, they’re so tiny, so cute,” he gasped when he spotted the school of two-day-old guppies swimming around in their 10-gallon tank. After being mesmerized for several minutes (a long time for him) he moved to the larger community tank, looking for more possible surprises. He amazed me by spotting the two new orange/black Platy fish among the tankful of orange/black fish that had occupied the aquarium for months. The new couple to the community have slightly longer, thinner tails. Who’d a thunk he’d notice them in an aquarium he’d only glanced at long enough to locate Sponge Bob’s new hangout? Cartoon characters are way more exciting than live fish. I certainly learned more about the powers of observation in this fast-paced world.

After a quick game of dominoes (our version) we meandered to the house next door to listen to Peter play his guitar. Since Raymond has sensitive ears, Peter kept lowering the volume of his electric guitar until Raymond was comfortable. When Raymond looked up into Peter’s patient face and announced he had a guitar that played songs at the push of a button, Pete invited him to bring it next time so they could play together. “OK, see ya,” said Raymond as he headed to the door.  

“Thanks, Peter,” I said. “You’re so good with kids you should have one.”

Stopping in his tracks, Raymond turned to look up at Peter and informed him, “You can’t have one, only a mommy can; it grows in her belly like I grew in my mom’s tummy.”

I don’t know how my young bachelor neighbor kept a straight face as he looked down and said, “Wow, Raymond, I didn’t know that! Thank you so much for telling me.” I guess it was Peter’s turn to learn something he needed to know.

Back home, Raymond read to me from his latest library book. He loves reading and was excited  to read his first “chapter book, like you read, Grandma.” No more “See Spot Run” books for today’s first-graders. His “chapter book” (as he kept reminding me) contained numerous four- and five-syllable words that flowed off his tongue like running water. I thought I couldn’t possibly be more impressed, until he picked up my latest LTD catalog (which usually gets ignored and tossed) and started reading lengthy, in-depth descriptions of every gift that appealed to him as perfect gifts for Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa and Raymond. By the time he was finished I realized he had taught me a much simpler way to do my Christmas shopping. I sent my order in the next day.

Since I learned all these lessons in just one day, imagine how smart I’ll be by the time he’s 10 and I’m an octogenarian!

Dotty Cronan lives in Forked River, N.J.  

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