75: A Day at Grandmom’s House

75: A Day at Grandmom’s House

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

A Day at Grandmom’s House

A grandmother is a babysitter who
watches the kids instead of the television.

~Author Unknown

My eleven-year-old grandson Ryan was on his way to the school bus when, as he told his mother, his stomach began to bother him. It felt queasy. He didn’t feel he should go to school. My daughter had a doctor’s appointment in another city, so Ryan came to Grandmom’s house.

He looked a bit pale when he walked in, and a bit taller, as if he had grown inches during the night. I settled him down in my big, king-sized bed, put on his favorite TV cartoons, puffed up his pillows as I once did for my own son at his age and asked him if he was hungry. That’s the first thing grandmoms ask under any circumstances.

“I think I could have an orange,” he said listlessly. Usually he was full of energy. Today, his body seemed limp, unable to withstand any physical activity.

So I cut up an orange and delivered it to him on a plate. He gulped it down.

Soon after I asked him again, “Would you like something else to eat?”

“I think I could have two pieces of toast,” he said. “And maybe two hard-boiled eggs.”

“Wonderful,” I responded. I boiled some eggs, buttered some toast, put some jelly on the side and carried it on a tray to his bed.

He gulped it down.

An hour later we were both munching on our favorite cookies.

Followed by potato chips.

Followed by pretzels.

We finished just in time for lunch.

“Would you like a turkey sandwich?” I asked about noon. “With sliced tomatoes?”

“That would be great,” he said.

He had some color in his face now. In fact, he seemed quite content. He lay beneath the blankets, my dog at his feet, the cats by his shoulder, the cartoons playing in the distance.

When lunch was over we attempted a game of cards, but we didn’t have an entire deck. Usually, we find something to talk about, sharing things we don’t share with anyone else. Today, neither one of us seemed in the mood for conversation. So we turned the cartoons back on and had an ice pop, a few more cookies, some water and some cold cereal.

He didn’t move for eight hours. He just ate. And ate. And ate.

It occurred to me during this eating orgy that I had witnessed the same behavior with my son at the same age. I called it the growth spurt. He would complain about his stomach, saying that he didn’t feel good. And he would stay home from school. And then eat for an entire day. It seemed he grew taller as he devoured the food. Just sprouted up. When you’re eleven, it’s difficult to understand that growing taller takes energy. And food. Grandmoms know exactly what to do about growth spurts — and eleven-year-olds whose bodies are changing as rapidly as the world around them.

An apple, watermelon, lollipops... all followed.

My daughter called to inquire about Ryan’s health. “How’s his stomach?” she asked.

“Fine,” I answered.

“Be careful what he eats,” she cautioned.

“I’m being very careful.”

We ended the day with a game of Scrabble. Finally, he turned to me and said, “I’m feeling better, Grandmom. I think I’ve got to get out of here and get some air.”

I smiled. I had done my job. Ryan was ready to go out and face the world again.

Probably two inches taller.

~Harriet May Savitz
Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul

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