From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Promises, Promises

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.

Alex Haley

The summer my grandson was four, he stayed with us for a week. When it came time to take him home, I said, “Now, Victor, don’t you go home and give away all your hugs and kisses. Be sure and save me some for next time you visit, okay?”

He wrapped his sweet little arms around my neck. “I won’t, Grandma. I promise to save them for you.”

A couple of weeks later, my daughter called. “Mom, would you please tell Victor that it’s okay for him to give me kisses and hugs?”


“At bedtime, no hugs or kisses. In the morning, no kisses and hugs. None for hellos, none for good-byes.” Vina worked herself into a huff. “Victor simply refuses.

And I put the blame squarely on you.”

“Why? What does Victor say?” My shoulders shook with suppressed laughter.

“‘I promised Grandma,’ he says. So, Grandma, can you tell me what’s up?”

“Vina, I can’t imagine what this has to do with me. I certainly didn’t tell him not to . . .” I suddenly recalled—and recounted—our conversation upon his departure.

“You told him to save all his hugs and kisses for you . . . and he took it seriously!” Now I could hear a bit of a smile in her voice. “Would you please release him from his promise?”

I thought a moment. “Put Victor on the phone.”

“Hello, Grandma.”

“Hello, sweetheart. Have you been saving all your hugs and kisses for me?”

“Uh huh, just like I promised.”

“Well, I can’t wait until I see you. So, can you give them all to me right now?”

“Okay, Grandma.” And into the telephone, Victor released precious little smacks and big umm-umm-umms.

“There, that’s all, Grandma.”

I replied, “Now, will you do Grandma a big favor?”


“Go give your mother lots of hugs and kisses—from me to her.”

Victor dropped the phone with a thud and began his favor for Grandma.

I could hear lots of smacking, several umm-umm-umms . . . and Vina’s laughter. And, just before I hung up, I heard my daughter shout from a distance, “Forever and ever, Mom!”

Christine M. Smith

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