My friend, Jody, told me her son, Austin, was crying because he no longer had any living grandparents to take to Grandparents Day at school. He lost his grandfather earlier in the year.
I have known Austin since the day he was born and could not stand it that he was heartbroken. I told Jody to have him call me. I would go as his grandparent. When Austin called, I asked him, “Do you want a young grandmother or an old one?”
In my mid-forties at the time, I prepared to be a young grandmother but as luck would have it, he asked for “old!”
I told him, “Old is what you want, old is what you will get!”
I went to the local party store that also sells Halloween costumes and found rubber skin that you paint on in layers. When it dries, it becomes very wrinkled. I got up at 4 a.m. and started painting my face. I dried it with a hair dryer and continued this process every 30 minutes.
I’m one of those people who keep tubs of “stuff” for costumes so I already owned many of the items I needed for my transformation.
I used an old white haired wig, a hat, a dress that belonged to my grandmother, an old purse, glasses and grandma-looking shoes. I was set!
When I picked Austin up to take him to school, he did not recognize me walking up to his house. When I said (in an old voice that I conjured up), “OK sonny, let’s get going it’s Grandparent’s Day. I want to see your art work and eat some donuts!” Austin smiled from ear to ear as he realized it was me.
It was priceless to see his heartache melt away.
At school, Austin introduced me without hesitation to his friends and teachers as his grandmother. I felt very proud of my “grandson,” and I believe he thought I was a pretty good grandmother.
It really doesn’t take much to make the world a little softer for others when all it takes is stepping into someone else’s shoes.
I recently saw Austin when he came up to our office to see his mother. We reminisced about Grandparents Day and how much fun it was for both of us! Great memories and since I’m not a grandmother yet, it was a great dress rehearsal!
Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. – Alex Haley