Today, I experienced something new! I was a "grandpal" for the morning!! What is a grandpal? Well, in today's world, there are many children who either do not have a grandparent . . .or their grandparents live out of town or are deceased . . .so instead of "Grandparent's Day," many of the local schools celebrate "Grandpal's Day." I was a "stand in" grandparent . . .and I was honored to be asked and humbled by the experience.
Due to privacy laws and issues, I can't show a picture of my "grandchild" but I can show you a picture he took of Laura and me.
He was so proud of himself for taking the photo!! Laura is an instructional aide in the Special Education department of a local school and she knew this child would not have a grandparent so she invited me to be his "grandpal." The student calls Laura . . ."Elliott" pronounced like Ehyet. So guess what he called me and the name he used to introduce me??? Of course, you guessed it . . .Ehyet mommy. Melt my heart. Just typing it brings tears to my eyes.
So what do you do at Grandpal's Day? I knew you were going to ask that question next, right? First, I arrived right on time and parked a few blocks away. Laura had warned me that the parking lot would be full and to park near our friend's house. It was uphill to the school . . .and then downhill . . .which means it was uphill back to the car. So . . .I went into the front doors of the school and stood in the lobby with tons of other grandparents. They evidently do this in shifts by grade . . .and some grandparents/pals had to make several appearances today!! After we gathered, the principal called each class by name and some of the "older" students escorted us to the classrooms. I got to see his desk (and got to see where Laura sits). I got to meet the main teacher for his classroom. I got to meet the little girl who sits next to him. Everyone was so sweet to him - from the students to all the teachers. He calls everyone "my" so and so . . .we went to see the music teacher and the music room and he said we were going to see "my" pepper (ms. pepper). He held my hand and we toured the gym and the art room and the special ed room and then we went to the library and had cups of ice cold apple juice . . .emphasis on "ice" . . .he wanted to eat the ice but it was COLD . . .brrrr. At the end of the tour, we went back to his classroom and had our picture taken for his class.
I want to write about how special the morning was . . .about how special it was for this child - this special child - to hold my hand and introduce me. I'm sure for privacy reasons, I can't even write about his "specialness." I'm not sure that I even have the words though . . .if I could share. I can tell you that it was amazing to me . . . .amazing that a child can be mainstreamed . . .amazing that this child can write his name . . .amazing that MY VERY OWN DAUGHTER is so incredible. I cannot even begin to tell you how proud of her I am. That child adores my daughter . . .it was evident!! That little boy's daddy wrote a letter telling Laura how she had changed their lives . . .he said the school is wonderful but Laura's love and care of his child had changed him - in a wonderful way.
So . . .today - the Friday before Thanksgiving . . .I was given a gift. Not a gift in the traditional sense - all wrapped up in pretty paper and tied with colorful ribbon. . . no, not that kind. I was given the gift of experience. I was given the gift of a little boy's heart . . .and his voice saying, "Ehyet's mommy" . . .I was given the gift of seeing my daughter - my own precious little girl . . .all grown up - at work!!! . . . I was given the gift of eyes to see . . .and ears to hear . . .and a mouth to smile . . I was given the gift of a brand new experience. Thanks be to God for so many blessings . . .especially the gift of this little boy.