About two weeks ago, my mother-in-law had hip surgery. After several days in the hospital, and a remarkable recovery thank G-d, she was released from the hospital and admitted to a rehabilitation center where she stayed for about a week. While my mother-in-law (we call her “Grandma”) was in the rehab, I visited her. Wanting to cheer her up, I shared a cute story about one of my grandsons.
My husband mentioned to me that after I told Grandma the story, she was so happy that she repeated it to my husband that night when she saw him. And the following evening she asked my husband to review the story again with her.
She wanted to remember every detail.
When my mother-in-law (did I mention she will be 95 kain ayin horah, in May?) joined us at Pesach where our family was together for the Holiday, the first thing she asked me was “Miriam, please tell me that story again. The one about the little one who you took shopping with you. I love to hear it…”
And so I agreed!
Her eyes lit up in excitement as she leaned forward to listen to the story yet again.
Several weeks ago, JoJo (my grandson’s name changed to protect the adorable) who is 4, came shopping with me to K-Mart, where I needed to pick up a few items. After about an hour of shopping, where JoJo was being a very good boy, he asked me for something to eat.
‘I’m huuuungry….can you buy me something to eat?’
Looking around as we were waiting in line at the checkout, the first thing I saw was a Hershey Bar. I asked him if he wanted that, and his said, ‘Yes!’ Fine, I thought. It will keep him happy till I get him back home.
Isn’t that sweet….said Grandma while I continued on with the story.
Okay, so I paid for my items, and handed him the chocolate bar, which he held carefully in his hand while we walked to the car, with my bags in the shopping cart. I opened the car door, and helped him into his booster car seat.
‘Can I eat it now?’ he asked.
‘Sure,’ I said.
Turning toward her daughter, my sister-in-law, (who was with us at the time) Grandma said, Pshhhh. Could you believe the maturity? Unbelievable…
I continued: And I buckled him in and loaded the car.
After driving a block or two, I stopped at a stop light, turned around briefly to check up on him, and saw him munching the chocolate bar. He was busy and all was well.
Then I saw him fold the wrapper over the chocolate, as if he was done eating. He had eaten about half of it, and I wondered why he wasn’t finishing it.
Figuring he wasn’t that hungry, I didn’t say anything.
‘I’m saving the rest for B.B. (his older brother’s not-real-name). It’s his birthday today,’ my grandson offered.
I love mitzvos!
Grandma opened her mouth in wonderment, as if hearing the story for the first time. She threw back her head and laughed with sounds of joy and nachas that only a great-grandmother can do. Then she leaned forward, looked downward, and shook her head, “Unbelievable…just unbelievable…such kindness!”
I continued on:
So, the whole thing happened so fast, I really didn’t know how to react or to think anything huge about it. I just simply said,”OH, that’s so nice of you. What a good idea! Such a mitzvah!”
‘Omi,’ said JoJo. ‘Can you take it from me and put it in a plastic bag? I don’t want it to melt.’
I took one of the shopping bags and put it inside, but JoJo wasn’t satisfied.
‘Can you put it in by itself?’
Not wanting to ruin the birthday gift, I did. I emptied the contents from another bag and put the half eaten chocolate bar into the bag and held onto it until later when JoJo’s mom came to get him.
Sure enough, later on he gave his 7 year old big brother the special gift of the leftover chocolate bar.
And that’s the end of the story, I told Grandma.
No, it’s not, no, it’s not…said my mother-in-law. He’s going to be some great person…because he’s so kind.
And me? The grandmother? The teller or kveller or bragger or boaster of this story about my grandson? What do I gain from this story?
I realize how powerful one positive event can be in a person’s life, in ours and those whose lives we affect.
What narrative do we create out of the stories in our lives? How do we interpret them?
Do we repeat and reinforce the positive events over and over by sharing with others or at least in our minds and our hearts for posterity?
How do you feel about sharing or reinforcing positive events with others and ourselves? Let me know.
And by the way:
Postscript: This morning, I was passing my mother-in-law while she was talking to her physical therapist who came by for scheduled sessions. I overheard my mother-in-law tell the therapist, “You have to hear what my grandson did. His mother…or someone…bought him a Danish…or a candy bar…I don’t know what… and he only ate half of it, and offered to give the other half to his brother whose birthday it was! Could you believe how special he is?”
Happy Holidays to all! May you have much pride and joy from your families and loved ones!