By Trevor Patterson
As I write this, I’m sitting in the side parking lot of my kids’ middle school. I just dropped off my eleven-year-old at the first day of basketball try-outs. While we were driving here we discussed how he was ‘just a little nervous‘, how he hoped he could get his lay-ups right, and how he and his friend, Will, had decided today in math class that the two of them were probably the fastest boys in the sixth grade class and how that should help them make a good impression on the coaches even if their lay-ups didn’t. I assured Josh that he needed to just relax and have a good time and the rest would happen the way it was supposed to happen. “You’re a good ball player. You’ll be fine. You have nothing to worry about”, I told him as we pulled up to the gym.
“I know. Hey, dad…do you think grandma’s okay?”
Totally out of the blue.
“Don’t worry about that either, buddy. Like I said…everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Now go show them how to play basketball”, I said.
Just then the doors opened and the sound of sneakers on the wooden court and the coaches’ whistle brought him back to the task at hand. He smiled and disappeared into the gym.
“Good luck, buddy”, I thought. “And good luck grandma.”
You see, their grandma, my mother-in-law, moved in with us a little over a year ago. In fact, we sold our three bedroom house last August and bought another three bedroom with an attached apartment, complete with living room, bedroom, bath, and small kitchenette so grandma could live with us. Grandma had been having trouble remembering things that she used to have no problem recalling. Oh, she could tell you all about her younger years growing up in Michigan, but more recent things like what day it is, what year it is, and occasionally even a familiar name and face now proves a little more difficult for her. My wife, who happens to be a nurse, spent quite a bit of time driving to her house to help her figure out what medication she had taken and needed to take next. When it got to that point, she and her brothers and I realized something had to be done, so as I said, we put our house on the market and within two weeks we had an offer and we found another house with the perfect floor plan for our situation, once again proving what I had told Josh…that things will work out the way their supposed to work out.
Since we moved in last August, we and grandma have settled in quite nicely. My wife, the nurse, works three night shifts a week and I’m on full-time days. My two brothers-in-law pass by our house to and from work every day and they stop in to see their mom on a regular basis and we take turns taking her to and from her frequent doctors appointments and making sure her medication is taken properly. We have great neighbors, too, who know our situation and frequently come over to visit with us and grandma. Grandma enjoys helping out with the kids and from time-to-time with dinner, too, even if the reality is the kids are helping her out more than the other way around, especially when they check to be sure she’s turned off her oven and locked her doors before bedtime.
There’s no doubt Josh and Kaleb, eleven and thirteen, respectively, are great with grandma. They love the fact that she’s no longer a half-hour away. She’s not even next door. Instead, she’s just down the hallway and through the laundry room door that connects ‘our house’ to ‘her house.’ I can’t count the times throughout the afternoon and evening that we hear them as they pop their heads around the corner to look into grandma’s apartment and tell her, “I love you, grandma!”
“I love you, too, Kaleb”, she says. “And I’m so glad I get to see you all the time now!”
Then we hear footsteps coming our way. “She called me Kaleb again”, says Josh. But that’s okay. I know she loves me, too.”
Trevor Patterson is an author whose first release book consisted of short stories and was closely followed by a second short Christian-themed self-help book. He defines himself as "a regular guy...a husband and a dad, trying to make it through this sometimes crazy life, knowing that without Him I don't stand a chance."