One of the best moments in my life, one that occurs day after day, and year after year is the time when my two grandchildren, Emma and Jake, call me on Facetime before school. They call from their kitchen, either finishing breakfast or after breakfast, already dressed, ready for school. Lately they even have their mask around their necks, totally prepared for the day ahead. The calls started many years ago, when Emma first started school. I don’t remember how it started, but once it did it never stopped, except when there were no classes. On holidays I miss the calls, and in the summer I miss them the most, but I don’t say anything so that they don’t feel obligated. Once school starts it continues whether I am in Florida or New York, and the Facetime call is as consistent as the sun rising every morning. I know the kids also call their grandma in Korea every morning before me, but I don’t know how much they talk, or for how long. I just know my time with them, and I just know how much it means to me. No matter how I feel, what my mood is, or what is happening in my life at that moment, I get to have the positive vibes that only grandchildren can give. I never once got the impression this was an obligation for them. They never once looked like they wish they did not have to call EVERY morning. Not once. That is the blessing. I know as they get older that attitude might not last but for now, and for the last few years it has not changed.
So, what do we talk about? During the year when Lauren would drive them both to different schools, we would be on the phone a total of 45 minutes. That’s a long time to keep their attention. Of course, I would ask them questions about school, friends, after school activities, etc. and sometimes they were interested in answering (Emma most of the time, Jake not much), but soon after this started, I realized we needed to have fresh material. A few years ago, I made a video of me cleaning the spiders out of the lanai in Florida. Pat videoed taped it and I put on a show while I was brushing all the spiders off the lanai walls. The kids loved the video so the next morning I printed a picture of a spider and named him Sammy. I showed the picture to the kids telling them he was real, and he was a new pet of mine. I created a voice for him, and we interacted with Sammy for very many mornings. A year later they mentioned Sammy, so I know it was a hit. Another time I started a game called “guess what this is.” We would show each other an obscure item from the house and try to guess what it was. We went over every item in the kitchen and on my desk. They were always shocked that I knew what everything was. Their gleeful disappointment made me so happy.
Emma always went first on the facetime chats, since she went earlier to school. Jake would sit quietly while Emma would show me first her sneakers, her clothing outfit for the day, her hair bows (JoJo bows were in) and then her schoolwork, projects or current pictures she was drawing. After hearing Lauren’s loving “Emma get your backpack, the bus is coming, or your ride is here”, she would run out of the house, and it was Jake’s turn. He would show me his picachu (a pokemon character) shirt, and then he would be a little quiet as he got lost rolling a ball on the kitchen table. I never mind when he is busy just doing something at the breakfast table. Just watching him was enough for me. Being the inquisitive one, then he would stop and would ask questions about something on his mind. Of course, to find the answer we would google it. I would flip my phone screen so he would be able to see my computer screen, and we researched things like weird insects, dinosaurs, sharks, or the value of pokemon cards. So many times, we are both learning things together, and what a joy that is.
The year that Lauren drove them both to different schools was especially enjoyable for me. I would ride along with them, in the car, first to drop Emma off and then Jake. Jake would carry the phone, every morning into the school, through the front entrance where he would introduce me to his friends, and then into the hallway of the school where so often I would say hi to his teachers. Most mornings everyone who past him by in the hall would have a friendly “Hello Grandpa” for me. I am so proud of Jake that he doesn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to walk into school talking to his grandpa and letting everyone know it!
The love the two of them show me every single morning brings tears to my eyes. I never hang up from them without saying how fortunate I am. Lauren, their mom and my wonderfully caring daughter in law started this. I don’t know if she reminds them every morning or if they remind her, but I am grateful nonetheless to her. They are her and Jon’s creation, and they are perfection. The call never ends without them both saying that they love me, and that I tell them that I love them. I feel a part of their life, daily, and am so grateful for this. Emma and Jake have so many years ahead of them, so many adventures and experiences that will be so amazing. I hope they remember these days when their morning started with a friendly call to grandpa. I know that these memories will be with me forever.