In the interest of full disclosure, let me start by saying this post has nothing to do with kindergarten, teaching, education, or my classroom. I just spent the last three days with my ninety-year-old plus grandparents (yes, they’re both not only still alive, but quite spry) and while I almost never write about my personal adventures outside the realm of the classroom, I’m about too. Don’t worry, I’ll be back at school tomorrow and we still have a few weeks left… the sprouts shall return!
My grandparents live in a private gated community in Florida. Like all good Jewish folks, they headed straight for the Sunshine State to retire… for the record, my ninety-three year old grandfather swears he hasn’t retired, it’s just that nobody will hire him at his age… he’s quite correct on that matter, but for the record, his mind is still sharper than a tack and he could teach the business men of today a thing or two for sure (although I had to show him how to get all the features of his new HD flat screen TV – isn’t that what grandsons are for?).
My grandmother, approaching her ninetieth birthday, has only begun slowing down because her body is forcing her too. Her mind is still going a million miles a minute and she still curses everything about Florida (sorry Floridians) and swears she will move back to New York City one day… the only REALLY great city in the world (her words not mine).
Last night, before leaving, I convinced my grandmother to allow me to cook for them. Something I’ve never done in my entire life… not because I haven’t wanted to take care of them, but my grandmother, like many, is the caregiver, the matriarch, the cook – she makes sure everybody eats what she considers to be enough and nobody else takes that role. For the first time, she stepped back and let me do a little work. It was almost surreal.
This morning, my grandparents dropped me off at the airport… I got a little sad saying goodbye to them. About halfway through my second connecting flight home today I got quite a startle. Without warning, I felt something warm and wet on the calf of my leg… it felt like, well, a tongue. I looked down between my legs and saw a rather large yellow lab licking my leg. I glance behind me and realized the woman behind me was blind and this was her Seeing Eye dog… taking a risk and saying ‘Hello’ to me.
Now I know you are supposed to ignore these small heroes if they approach or interact with you… after all they are working dogs and need to stay focused. Well this dog was clearly off duty for the time being. I leaned down under the seat and let her lick my hands and then gave her quite a few pets for good measure. I was feeling a little down and she made me smile.
My grandmother, in all her stories this weekend kept saying, over and over again, “We’ve been so lucky”… really, I’m the lucky one.