Testing And Graduating Memories

Today I joined the coffee crowd at a nearby fast food place. I was killing time until I could meet family for a visit. I was the driver for my grandson who was taking his SATs. Since he opted to do the essay portion as well I was in for a long wait.

I read the newspaper that I brought and visited with a man who sat at the next table. I went to a big box store for some weed killer. I found out last week that mine was gone.

I thought about my experience with the SATs. While I do not remember the scores I received I remember the anxiety associated with those tests. I think it was because of my scores that I received a Regent Scholarship. It paid for my books and then some toward other expenses.

My day was fine. Once the cousins got together we laughed a lot as we reminisced our childhood experiences. As we broke out in laughter more than one patron of the establishment looked at our table. We were not creating a disturbance. We were just having a good time. Since we had all been teachers we shared some our memories from that as well. Once someone began a story it seemed we all had something to contribute.

When I finally got a text from my grandson that he was done I picked him up. He told me he was treating me to lunch as a thank you for the transportation. We went to a familiar chain restaurant. He ordered a sandwich and I ordered my favorite salad. When the salad arrived I picked through it. Something was definitely wrong. I called the waitress over and commented, “Isn’t this supposed to have chicken in it?” It was not her fault. The manager had actually brought out our lunches. A new salad was delivered. I ate some of it but took some home for another time.

The ride home was nice. My grandson and I did a lot of visiting.

GRADUATION

I will soon be the grandmother of a high school graduate. It does not seem possible that my oldest grandchild is nearly eighteen.

I remember the day she was born. My son-in-law called us early that morning to say they were heading to the hospital. We had signed up for a seminar sponsored by our bank and my husband had been told that he won a prize. We expected a long labor so we attended as planned.

We were home in plenty of time. We did not receive the call until late in the afternoon. I could hardly wait to hold the new baby. Her grandfather was a little more reluctant. We let the family know that Carly had arrived and went to the hospital. My son and his wife met us there.

Her mother returned to her law practice a couple weeks later. The first day I babysat I think she called me three times. I reminded her that I had done this before!

My granddaughter had more than a year of my undivided attention before a cousin arrived. We both enjoyed every minute. Her grandpa and I took her everywhere.

Eventually my babysitting became one day a week. I treasured that time to share the wonders of nature with a new generation. We watched butterflies and ants. We found polliwogs and newts. We picked wild berries and wild flowers. We made bouquets for the table and some to take home to her mother.

There is not a single stage of development that I have not been part of. I returned to school as a helper the year my granddaughter was in kindergarten. The school was under construction and the teacher needed help with the students on the computer. I made sure I had her blessing because I had recently vacated that room and did not want to interfere.

My granddaughter went to Vacation Bible School with me. The days fairly rolled by as she went through elementary school. It was not long until it was sixth grade graduation. Next it was on to high school with sporting and musical events.

Her art ability was evident early on. While attending a craft show where I was selling my books she drew a lot of attention while she was drawing. The concept of a line of cards was born. For the next nine years she and I attended shows together. She sold her custom made cards as well as painted dish towels and baby wear.

This business venture brought us closer together. It created a multi-generational relationship that would never have happened without this experience.

As my first grandchild heads to college I trust that all of her family memories and experiences will sustain her. I know she is ready for this next phase of her development. I have always referred to her as “Sunshine” because she had such a happy disposition. We often sang a tune by John Denver that I had on a CD. She learned those tunes and soon could sing along.

God speed, my personal sunshine. You have always been a bright spot in my life. We send you off with our blessing trusting the He will be with you always. May you attain the goals that you have set for yourself. May you become a happy and productive individual. Just be yourself – that is the best advice I can give.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact her at hickoryheights1@verizon.net