Be the Grandma You Wish to See in the World

“I just didn’t like the way he was looking at your stuff. I told him you’d be coming back.” She peeked over her cracked window, her chin barely above the steering wheel. Everything was gray: hair, wrinkles, even the thick glasses she squinted through.

Upon discovering that I’d left my keys in the hotel room when I arrived at my car, I’d risked abandoning a pile of bags in the parking lot as I went back for the rest. My golden-girl turned guardian angel informed me that “some guy” had taken interest in my gear and that she’d “told him it was none of his business,” which chased him off.

“I figured you forgot your car keys, so I just stuck around,” she said. I thanked her and wished her a nice day. “Maybe I’ll get a job in security,” I heard her mutter as she rolled away.

At first, I was miffed that someone would have contemplated swiping my stuff. I was gone for less than five minutes, and even though he would have mostly made off with dirty laundry, it still would have ruined my morning.

Then, I couldn’t help but chuckle at picturing my old friend dressed as a security guard and shaking her fist at folks far taller than her as she lectured them about what was and wasn’t their business.

We always have choice in how we view the world. It’s not all good; it’s not all bad; and, in a singular moment, there are both potential thieves as well as grandmas idling in station wagons, ready to cruise in for the save.

It’s an especially good personal reminder this week as the universe delivered two bits of tough news. First, my mom announced that she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, my furnace, a newer model, crapped out just as the first big snowstorm of the season hit.

Regarding my mom, I could moan about how unfair it is for such horrible news to befall a good person; or, I could be thankful that the cancer was detected early, that she’s got good healthcare, a family support system, and is working with one of the best local surgeons around.

About my furnace, I could lament the two grand I’m out and lambaste the company that made the faulty model; or, I could remember that it’s just an appliance, and I could applaud the company that gave a fair quote to quickly install a new furnace during a holiday week.

There’s a memorable quote from the otherwise underwhelming recent Zach Braff film; “We move forward. That’s the only direction God gave us.” But besides recognizing our silver linings, we can also pay forward our good fortunes.

We can be the grandmas we wish to see in the world: a revolution of kind souls looking out for each others’ bags. I call on you to join us.


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