The voice on the phone asked what we were doing the coming weekend. “Nothing” I replied. After all, at the time we had five children under the age of 10. And we were living on one income. “Well, can we come and get the kids?” she asked. Geeze. Is there a better question in the world for a young haggard mom of five? “How many do you want?” I asked. “All of them!” Her name was Jesse. My kids called her Aunt Jesse. But to her, she was their surrogate grandma.
We met “Aunt Jesse” through her daughter. At the time, I was a small business owner. And her daughter was working her way through college by babysitting. Every day I would drop all four children off at her house. They loved her.
Jesse’s kids were in college and high school. She was still several years away from becoming a grandma. That didn’t stop her for one minute.
While it’s true, my children became her surrogate grandchildren, it’s also true she showed me how to be a mom.
My own mother was a little more on the critical side. Which usually made me pretty uptight with own my children. One day, we were at Jesse’s house. I had our youngest at the time, up at the counter with me sitting on my lap, eating cookies.
Jesse and Eddie’s home was always a welcoming place. Although she was a full-time nurse, whenever she was home, she spent most of the time cooking or shopping. There was always plenty of cookies on hand.
On this particular day, the cookies my toddler was eating, happened to be out of a bag of Oreos. Doing, just like toddlers do, she would carefully open up the cookie, scrape the icing out with her bottom teeth, and put the cookie back together.
However, my little gal was putting the centerless cookie back into the bag. After about a full row was replaced with empty cookies, I noticed what was happening.
“Oh no!” I said. “You can’t do that. Stop it.”
Jesse didn’t miss a beat. She scooped my wounded toddler up and said, “It’s fine. Eddie didn’t know Oreos had a middle until a couple years ago anyway. He’ll eat them.”
There was nothing that rattled that lady. Nothing.
Without a doubt, she considered my children her grandchildren for many years. When Christmas came, she brought over laundry baskets filled with presents. When their family reunion came, she picked up my children and took them along.
The joy she had, getting surrogate grandchildren 10 years early filled a void in her life as well as my children’s.
But in the end, I’m the one who received the biggest blessing. Nothing is more powerful, or wonderful, than having your children loved by a surrogate grandma and grandpa.