In his eyes
When my grandson was about 4 years old, he looked up at me in an adorable fashion and said, “Mum (this is what my grandchildren call me), you know, you are getting old and crusty.”
After my daughter-in-law had three miscarriages, the birth of our granddaughter Emily was truly a gift from God. She’s beautiful, perfect, and now 2 1/2 years old. Each month, we try to give my son and his wife one weekend to have time to themselves. They enjoy their time together, and we enjoy that time with our granddaughter. One weekend I purchased a new jumper and matching shirt for Emily. On Sunday morning I dressed her for church in her new outfit — complete with tights and patent leather shoes. When we were done she walked over to the mirror and with the most serious face, looked at herself, then turned to me. “Grandma,” she said, “I look beautiful.” I had to agree. She’s truly beautiful — inside and out.
Johanna Van Alphen Mast
As old as the dinosaurs
When our youngest granddaughter was in kindergarten, I had the privilege of walking her to school. We did a lot of talking along the way. At the time, one of her favorite TV shows was “Dinosaurs,” and she often described the latest episodes to me. One was about the grandmother who had lived long enough to be taken to the tar pits and hurled in. She asked how old I was and I told her 69. She stopped dead still and with a stricken face said it was time for me to go, 69 was the magic age.
Mrs Irene Whatley
Babies and baptism
I am a proud grandma of eight: six boys and two girls. My grandson John is 6 years old and a first grader at Jordan Catholic School. Friends recently visited his family with their 6-week-old baby girl. John asked, “Has she been baptized?” No, they replied. John said, “Oh, then she still has original sin.” I’m proud to know he understands his lessons from his Catholic school.
Regina (Gina) McNeany
God’s working on it
During a break from the hospital where my grandson was on a life-threatening support system, my daughter, great-grandson, and I attended Mass at a nearby Church. It was raining, lightening and thundering, and the electricity went off momentarily. My 10-year-old great-grandson turned to his grandmother and whispered, “God is taking a break because he’s answering our prayers for my dad.”
When my great-grandson spends weekends with us, he receives a special bedtime blessing, a ritual handed down from our grandparents.
Inez M. Gabaldon
Name that tune
George and Jeanne Peterson
How can I find God?
I explained that Father Matt had been transferred to another parish and we had another priest to take his place now. My grandson’s relief that Father Matt was OK was visible. He wanted to know if we would see him again. That gave us the opportunity to talk about how Fr Matt has a very special job as a priest, and how it would be selfish to keep him to ourselves and that we needed to share him with people at other churches. I explained about how even though a member of our family moves away we can still write and visit on special occasions, they are still in our hearts and the same is true with our priests. They are special members of our family.
My husband smiled and added, “I don’t know about those other guys, but I put them up for the birds.”
On another occasion I took Nicole’s younger sister Lauren on some errands with me. I introduced her to some women at church. One of them asked if she had any sisters. She answered yes, she had two. She was then asked if she had any brothers. “Yes,” she replied. “One brother cousin.” Our family is close so I guess she considered her cousin Brandon to also be a brother.
Just do it!
When our granddaughter was 6 years old, she came to visit us with her dad. She and I decided to go for a walk that day, and of course my son asked if he could come along. “No,” she piped up. “I need quality time with Grandma.” About halfway through the walk, she explained she had learned to climb a tree, and she said her mom was not happy about that. “How did you climb the tree?” I asked, wondering if she had asked for a boost to catch the first branch. Smiling, she answered, “Well grandma, I faced my fears and climbed it.”
Grandma Judy Meierhofer
Later in the day Father Gil called our daughter to tell her not to be too upset, it was important that kids have a little freedom in church.
“Grandma, do you love me?” Karl asked.
Justin’s other grandparents became Grandma and Pap Harvey because they once had a dog named Harvey. Even though the beagle has since passed away, all the grandkids on my side of the family still use this term of endearment. Even the littlest ones that never even knew the dog call their grandparents Grandma and Pap Harvey.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. I had just completed my last round of chemotherapy, when I thought a visit to my grandchildren in Chicago would be just what the doctor ordered. I had lost my hair and was wearing a wig during the day, but warned my daughter that she should let the kids know ahead of time, so they would not be frightened to see me at night. My granddaughter was 6 at the time and she always wanted to sleep with me when I visited.
One day I went along with her to her swimming lessons. When it was over, she brought her little friend over to meet me. “Grandma, this is my friend Becky…Becky this is my Grandma from Kansas City…she takes her hair off!”
One small difference
“Well maybe,” Sydney replied. “But I don’t have all of those wrinkles.”
One day, my 3-year-old granddaughter and I were sitting on the floor, discussing the manger scene: the shepherds, baby Jesus, Jesus’ mommy and daddy. I was so proud that we were having such a special time together, and that I held her interest in telling her the story of Jesus’ birth. Each piece was nicely arranged around Jesus’ crib. “Each figure has a special place,” I told her. Just then, the phone rang, and I then left the room to answer it. When I returned, I found that she had neatly rearranged all the pieces in a straight line across my end table. I asked why they were all lined up. “They are in line, waiting their turns,” she said. I felt so proud, thinking that she had truly comprehended what we had just discussed, and the figures were all lined up, waiting to see the baby Jesus. “No Nonny,” she said. “They are all lined up waiting their turn to go potty.”
I suppose her relating to them as everyday people is not such a bad thing.
Worth the wait
Grandpa Ralph asked his 4-year-old grandson, Josh, when they would be able to go hunting together. “When I’m five,” Josh answered.
“When will you be five?,” Grandpa asked.
Josh replied, “When I’m done with four.”
Sister Mary Alice and Sister Frances, SSST
Be not afraid
So many stories!
One day Zachary, then 2, sneezed and then said, “God Bless You, Me.”
My grandson Garrett, 4, asked me what the little door above the windshield was for in my new car. I showed him that it was a compartment where I kept my spare glasses. He looked at me and then said, “How did they know you wore glasses when they made the car?”
My son’s children had a pet rabbit that unfortunately died. While waiting for daddy to come to bury the rabbit, Haley, age 5, was so upset that she couldn’t stop crying. Her mother told her that Hoppy had gone to heaven. Haley sobbed that the could not be in heaven, because he was lying right over there. So mommy tried again, saying that Hoppy was up in heaven telling her grandma all about Haley and her brothers. Again Haley sobbed, “Mommy, rabbits can’t talk!”
Connor, age 3, was at church for the first time for his cousin’s baptism. His mother told him that this was God’s house and he had to be very quiet. “Why,” he whispered. “Is God sleeping?”
Shannon was only 2 when her parents sold their house and moved into an apartment until their new house was built. Shannon referred to that time as waiting for their house to “grow up.” Shannon also had her own way with words. For a long time nail polish was “pale nolish” and toilet paper was “paper toilet.”
When Shannon’s mother was pregnant, Shannon, then 5, said she hoped for a baby sister. Her mother explained to her that it was possible that the new baby would be a baby brother, and Shannon expressed her approval. When her little brother arrived, Shannon was thrilled. Still, after a few weeks, she asked her mother if it was time to get a baby sister.
Before her brother’s Baptism, Shannon told the priest at her church that her baby brother was going to get “appetized” on Sunday. At Mass her mother and daddy went up to receive communion, and Shannon followed behind them. When her mother turned to see where Shannon was, she saw Shannon giving the priest a big hug. Shannon said that everyone else was getting something, and that she wanted something too – a hug.
Sean’s mother carried him when she went up to receive Holy Communion. After she received, the Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist made the Sign of the Cross on Sean’s forehead and said “God bless you.” He turned to his mother and said, “I didn’t sneeze.”
Sean, then 3 1/2 and Garrett, then 7, were riding in the back seat of my car. Sean said to Garrett, “Garrett, you look for babies on your side and I’ll look for babies on my side.” Garrett looked at him with a superior air and said, “Sean, we don’t look for babies – we look for babes.”
A very special family tree
My 4-year-old grandson Joseph was never one to sit on anyone’s lap. One recent day, while eating a banana, he crawled up on my lap and continued to sit there while eating his banana. I thought perhaps he was beginning to warm up to old grandpa, and I asked him what was going on. He looked at me and said, “I’m being a gorilla and you’re a tree!”
One day another grandson was with a babysitter while my daughter and I went out to lunch. The babysitter was a sweet girl who attended the local Bible college. When we got home she said, “Jack, tell Granny what Isaiah 6:8 says.” Little Jack, who was only two, smiled and put his hands up to his heart and said, “Here me am.” Then he raised his arms out and said, “Send me!” I sure think of this whenever we sing the hymn.
My special senior friend
Do you know anybody who was one of the founders and still works at a scout camp, still plays football with his grandson, loves to go hiking almost every day, and is over 60? I do — my grandfather! He does all these things with me, and loves it. He is a very devout Catholic, goes to Mass every day, and heads the altar server program at our parish.
He is very devoted and committed to what he does. No matter what, he always does his best. I am very proud to have someone like this as such a close friend and relative. He is a special man.
After some thinking on my grandson’s part, he came up with the idea that they both put $20 in the pot, and the winner got to donate the $40 to their favorite charity. What a great way to add some excitement to the game and to help a charity.
Karen S. Wheeler
Because I work at a zoo, my grandchildren met the giraffes, penguins, and otters. My grandkids, in turn, introduced me to their dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses.
My own grandmother instilled in me a strong affection for the Holy Eucharist. I have shared this with my own grandchildren. It was a privilege to be present when they each received their First Holy Communion. Later, when they came to my home state we visited the hospital chapel where I minister as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. They understand why receiving Jesus when you are sick is so welcome.
My golden years are enriched by my grandchildren!
A letter to loved ones
I took my two granddaughters shopping to buy gifts for their parents. I was so impressed by my granddaughters, who were then 8 and 10, that I wrote the following letter to my daughter and son-in-law:
My Dearest Daughter and Son,
How proud you must be of your beautiful daughters. You are raising your daughters not only to be beautiful on the outside, but to be most beautiful in the inside. My few hours spent with them was certainly an eye-opener. You are teaching the girls the value of money, to have a conscience, to be respectful, kind, and very, very unselfish. I want to share with you a little of what Basiea and Paige shared with me on Saturday.
On the way to the store, as we passed a man on the street corner asking for money, Paige asked me if Santa Claus would visit the homeless. I told her, “No,” because the homeless people don’t have a home. “That isn’t fair!” she replied. I told her it was because Santa Claus wouldn’t be able to find them. “Well, he could get a map,” she replied. I told her that they would not be listed on a map, since the homeless moved from place to place. She said, “Then none of us should have houses, so it would be fair.” I told her that it would really be hard not to have a house. “Not really, Grandma,” she replied, “then we wouldn’t have chores.”
On arrival at the store, Paige was hungry, so we decided to get something to eat before we went shopping. Paige ordered a slice of pizza and an Icee. Basiea wasn’t hungry, but she ordered nachos and a Coke. Basiea prompted us to say grace, and we began to eat. Then Paige asked, “Grandma, did this cost very much?” I told her no, and not to worry about it. She said, “Maybe I should not have ordered so much, so it wouldn’t cost so much money.”
When we entered the store, I asked the girls what they wanted to buy for you both. “I know just what my mom wants, because she told me,” Basiea said. “What?” I asked. She replied: “Playtex Gloves.” I then asked them what their daddy would like, and again Basiea replied: “Erasers.” We eventually found a few items we thought you would want, and we bought them. But their initial gifts were so simple, I would bet that you will love them more than the more expensive gifts because they are from the heart.
When we finished shopping for both of you, we went into the Toyland, and they looked around. Both of them went to a box of little dogs and accessories and asked if I would buy that for them. I said, “Yes,” expecting that each girl would get one of their own. But they only picked up one. “We’ll share this one, Grandma,” they told me.
Mary Jo Bradley
A well-traveled grandma
Andy & Marie Ramold
Hot tea and holy water
My grandmother hung holy water fonts on our bedroom doorways, and they held about one pint each. She sprinkled every room, and it seemed as though she re-baptized us when we misbehaved. We took turns walking to the church to fill the two-quart jug.
One day when it was my turn, I went down an alley and passed the old mercantile store. A lady called to me from the porch. “What have you got in those jugs you carry?” Embarrassed, I looked at the food store and shouted, “Vinegar! Ma makes lots of pickles.”
Grandma lived with us after Grandpa passed on. We became pretty close. She offered us a pot of tea. Very saffron colored and always with an odd flavor. She said it was straight from Ireland.
Our grandson Adam went to the drive-in movie with us. As dusk arrived, Adam stared out the car window and said, “God is dimming his flash light.”
The first time I took my granddaughter Heather to church she was 3-and-a-half years old. I told her we were in God’s house, and that she should be quiet. When Mass began, and she saw the priest, she said, “Look Grandma, Jesus is home. There he is!”
Hungering for God
One day, the priest said, “Take this and eat it; this is my Body.” My grandchild said, “Grandma, let’s go eat.”
George & Ida Zambetti
Our family wordsmith
My 4-year-old grandson Michael invents his own words. A folding cup holder in the car is known as a “cup folder.” Astronauts are “fastronauts,” because they go fast. Last Lent, his Mom taught him the 23rd Psalm. Michael didn’t know what green pastures were, so he called them green passengers. One day at lunch I said, “uh huh.” He asked what that meant, and I replied that it meant “Yes.” He said, “That means yes in Spanish.” I couldn’t convince him otherwise.
Finding the frog and more stories
Four-year-old Paige was quite the storyteller. “You know what, Papap?” she asked. “Sean and I were in the car, and I took a mint out and Sean, put it in his mouth and started to choke. Mommy got scared and was mad. “Oh my,” I replied. “When did this happen?” I asked. She replied, “Tomorrow!”
One-year-old Corey started to verbalize — but in his own language. A school bus came out “scooba;” an elephant was an “ellisent,” and a garbage truck was “gubbaga.” After a while, Corey’s speech got a bit better. One day when he came to visit, I ask him “What does gubbaga mean?” He just looked up at me and didn’t say a word. I said, “Gubbaga means I love you!” On his next visit I greeted him with “Gubbaga,” and asked him, “What does gubbaga mean?” He looks up at me with his big, baby-blue eyes and said, “I love you!” Ten years later, our family greeting is “gubbaga.” I have 17 grandkids, and when I ask, what does gubbaga mean? They all will answer, “I love you!”
Upon her death, I was with my dad and siblings while my husband brought our boys to my hometown. Throughout the trip, he had to explain to my children (ages 3 to 12) about what happened to Grandma. Of course, this included his best explanation of death and heaven. The last time they had seen Grandma, she was a happy, healthy, loving, hugging, game-playing Grandma. God had other plans now. We can only imagine what was going through their minds, especially a 3-year-old mind.
On the evening of the visitation for my mother, the funeral home was filled with flowers, family, and friends. My husband brought the kids in and took them up to the casket to pay their respects to their dear Grandma. As he brought our 3-year-old, they knelt by the casket. Jack looked at my mom and asked, “Is that Gwamma?’ My husband nodded his head yes. Then Jack, wide-eyed, looked around the room, then back at mom, then back at his dad. With a most serious and concerned look, Jack asked, “Are we in heaven?”
Forget the stork
When my first grandchild, Erica, then 5, asked her sister, Meghan, then 3, where she came from, Meghan replied, “From my room!” “No, Silly,” Erica retorted. “You came from God!”
What a great roommate!
Shortly after my husband died, Braeden, my 5-year-old grandson, came to visit. On that day I was feeling very lonely and was complaining about living alone. Braeden looked up at me and said, “Grandma, you don’t live alone.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t?”
“No,” he replied, “Jesus lives here with you!”
A problem with the Stations
I usually say the Stations of the Cross with my two grandchildren every Friday during Lent. When we arrived at the tenth Station (Jesus is stripped of his garments), my 10-year-old grandson said, “But Grandma, how could they do that to Jesus? Isn’t that considered sexual harassment?”
Mary A. Annamunthodo
Markham, Ontario, Canada
Who’s calling please?
I was speaking to my grandson Aaron on the phone one night, when his daughter Simone, 2, interrupted him. He handed her the phone and asked her to say hello to me. She calls me G.G. for great grandma. She picked up the phone and said, “Hello G.G. Who are you?”
Last weekend, our 5-year-old grandson, Steven, was sick, so our son stayed at home with him while our daughter-in-law went to Mass with Steven’s two older brothers. While they were out, our son asked Steven, “ When do you think your mom and brothers will be coming home?” He replied, “As soon as Father Jerry gives out those little white chips, they will say a prayer, then sing a song, and then they will be home.”
Ray and Joanne Reesman
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
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