Last night, I went to daughter's house to celebrate my granddaughter Lainey's tenth birthday. When Lainey's sister Alyssa, who is two years older than Lainey, turned ten, Mary Ellen and I took her Disney World, and we all had a ball.
According to my daughter, Lainey wasn't expecting me to do the same thing for her since I have had such a tough time this past year dealing with Mary Ellen's sudden death.
When I got to the house last night, I hugged Lainey, wished her a happy birthday and handed her a card. When she opened the card, she read what I had written inside of it: "Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! Guess who's going to Disney World when school gets out this June???
(Wanna come with me?)"
Her eyes popped out of her head, and her jaw dropped. Then she quietly composed herself, looked at me and whispered, "Really???"
I nodded. "Really. Wanna go with me?"
She beamed, nodded vigorously, threw her arms around my neck and squeezed as hard as she could, declaring, "Oh Grampy! I love you SO MUCH!!!!"
Erin made an amazing pot roast birthday dinner. As we all sat at the table eating, I noticed that older sister Alyssa was distracted. It was obvious that she was really happy for her sister, because she got really excited when she found out that Lainey was going to Disney World, and she told Lainey about how much fun she was going to have.
But something was eating at Alyssa. Something was making her sad. So I asked her what was the matter, and she said, "I just lost some of my money. I had a $20 bill in my room, and now I can't find it. "
When Erin's husband Shane told Alyssa that it might turn up if she ever cleaned up her room, Alyssa smiled shyly, shook her head and almost despondently said, "I've looked everywhere."
As we finished up supper, Erin announced that the cake would be served in a half hour so that everybody could have time to digest the meal.
Alyssa excused herself, and went up to her room to start her homework. I watched her walk up the stairs, and I could see the quiet sadness in her eyes.
After a few minutes, I told Erin and Shane that I was going up to talk to Alyssa in her room. As I climbed the stairs, I took a $20 bill out of my wallet and folded it up in the palm of my hand.
I knocked on Alyssa's partially closed door. When she said, "Come in," I stepped into the room.
It looked like a bomb went off in the place.
Alyssa was sitting on her bed with her schoolbooks opened up in front of her. I sat down next to her and said, "You're really upset about the money, aren't you?"
Her gaze dropped to her bedspread and nodded, saying softly, "Do you know how many iTunes I could buy with $20, Grampy?"
I smiled and said, "How about if I help you look for it?"
Alyssa sighed and shook her head, replying, "It's useless. I've looked everywhere in here!"
"Well, it won't hurt to look one more time, will it?" I asked as I got down on the floor and began moving crumpled clothes and other items around. I flicked a dirty sock to one side and said, "What's this?" I reached down, and came up with a $20 bill in my hand. "Look what I found!" I exclaimed, turning to Alyssa and showing her the money.
Her jaw dropped and her eyes bugged out of her head, "Oh WOW! But I already looked there a hundred times!!!" she gasped. Then suddenly her eyes flashed. She cocked her head to one side, smiled broadly and said, "Oh Grampy!!!!"
She threw her arms around my neck and hugged me as hard as she could, whispering, "I love you, Grampy!"
It's really, REALLY good being Grampy.