May 25, 2016

Loving Advice from a Former Foster Child to his 82-Year-Old Grandma.

Ismael Nieto/Unsplash

I got a call recently from my dad—the decision had been made to move my grandma to a nursing home.

She had been falling a bit more and it was harder for my grandpa to help her. Granted, she is 82 so it isn’t surprising that when we get to a life stage such as this, we will need extra help. But I couldn’t help but be sad thinking about it.

She and my grandpa have been married for nearly 63 years and have lived in their own home together up until now, so I can’t imagine that being any different. Not having them under the same roof at night, being apart for even a moment, let alone living separately was a thought my mind couldn’t quite comprehend.

When my dad called, he said that the only thing my grandma asked to bring was the photo collage the grandchildren had put together and gifted to her this past Christmas. She and Grandpa asked me to make a second version so they could each have one. Of course, this both broke my heart and made it full all in the same moment and I instantly went online to reorder the photos used.

As I was putting together the second collage last night, my son came in and asked what I was doing. I began to tell him about his great grandma and how she was going to be living in the nursing home so they could help take care of her. He asked a lot of the same questions any 10-year-old would: Will people go visit her every day? Can she bring her own things? Can Great Papa cook for her there? Do they allow dogs? Can kids bring ice cream to their great grandmas?

And then he asked, “does she know anyone there?”

I told him I didn’t think she knew anyone but that she is so sweet everyone will love her and she will be a favorite. It was in his response that I witnessed a moment of true innocence and knowing that for everyone and everything there is a season and a reason.

You see, my son was a foster child—he had been to at least three homes before coming to be with us, not to mention the ones he likely stayed in sporadically while with his biological mother. Before us, I don’t know that he really knew what a “home” was because it was a fluid term.

He said to me, “Mom, I went to foster homes before because they had to take care of me. I didn’t know anyone and I was scared but they always took care of me. Tell Great Grandma to try new things and eat the new foods they make because sometimes they are really good and that there is nothing to be afraid of. Because Mom, when people put you in a safe place to take care of you, that’s what it’s for, to make you feel better and to take care of you. That’s how you got me Mom, because I had to go somewhere new to get safe and taken care of. And you picked me up and that was the last new place I ever had to be because now you’re mine.”

Then he found a bear beanie baby and gave it a big hug and drew her a card with his school picture inside because of course, she will need a “worry bear” to hug when she’s scared and a school picture to show him to her new friends.

And in that moment, a 10-year-old little boy took my aching heart and instantly made me fill up with love.

Because he reminded me that no matter where you are, it’s the people who are in your life and your heart that matter. That it’s okay to be scared and nervous about new things, but that sometimes, the new things turn out to be great things that make our worlds better.

A 10-year-old’s advice to his 82-year-old great grandma—so priceless and so comforting in a season of change.


Author: Maggie Brynn

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Ismael Nieto/Unsplash

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