She wasn’t the type I expected to see at Parent teacher interviews. The expected ones had been plentiful already, Moms and a few Dads with youngsters in tow, some looking exhausted and ready for another cup of coffee, trying to keep their young brood from running in different directions. Some trying to coax a toddler off the floor telling them to hurry up so they could get to the assigned classroom in time for their set appointment. Lots of school age kids had come by already, some looking less than excited and some with big smiles on their faces. Overall the mood was happy and welcoming.
We had a good view of everyone coming in to the school. A few servers from CrossRoads had laid out clothing donations on tables in the hallway and were inviting families to take what they were in need of for their children. There were many winter coats in various shades of purples and pinks for girls and blues and greens for boys, stacks of leggings and jeans, shirts upon shirts and boots and shoes were on display. Some people kindly said “no thank you, we’re doing okay”, some had commented on the generosity of the people who had donated and many had left with children wearing something that they really needed and a bag of other items. And lots of smiles were handed out and received along with a few hugs.
The number of children that had come through wearing coats that they had outgrown by a few sizes was significant. The arms way too short and the coat fitting so tightly around their bellies that I am not sure how they got the zipper done up. It was such a great thing to be able to see these kids walk out the door in a new coat that would still fit them next winter.
But this woman, she was much older and slower. She pushed a walker in front of her as she headed towards us. She walked with a shuffle and she was bent over, leaning heavily on the walker as if it was keeping her upright. After explaining why we were there she started looking through the clothes and talking, her life situation coming out in bits and pieces. She was a grandmother trying her best to fill the role of a Mother and Father to more than one elementary aged child.
She found a T shirt that said Paris on the front and immediately told us that her granddaughter dreamed of going to Paris one day…..and New York. ”And she has a very good voice” the Grandmother told us, “Who knows?”
It wasn’t too long before the granddaughter came around the corner and started looking at the clothes. As soon as the grandmother held up the Paris t shirt the girls eyes lit up and she gave the shirt a hug as she excitedly said “Paris!” It was the best find of the day!
This little family has stayed on my mind and in my heart since I met them last week.
I think about a tired grandma who probably never imagined that she would be raising children at her age. It is a challenge physically, emotionally and financially. There is heartbreak that has led to this situation.
I have thought about a little girl with big dreams of Paris and New York and singing. She is resilient and hopeful. I pray that she stays that way.
And “Who knows?”