Precious Times

My plans for yesterday consisted of going to church, watching the Broncos game, and waiting for the numerous ding-dongs that would indicate the delivery of one of the many Christmas gifts I’ve ordered from Amazon that were scheduled to arrive that day. The various Next Door posts indicating that packages have been looted from front porches in our neighborhood scared the daylight out of me. So Bill and I even ended up going to separate Mass services so that one of us was home at all times.

Those were my plans; you know what happens when we plan….God laughs.

I was making a quick run to Macy’s (leaving Bill to answer the door) when my phone indicated the arrival of a text. I noticed it was from my 15-year-old granddaughter Addie. I waited until I was at a red light to read the text:

Hey! Alastair and I were hoping to go to lunch with you and then go Christmas shopping. Are you free?

It took me the next 10 minutes or so to digest the fact that Addie and her 13-year-old nemesis brother were actually willing to do something constructive together. And given the cheerfulness of the text (notice the exclamation point following the “hey”), it appeared both parties bought into the idea and were fine with it.

I told them I would be happy to take them to lunch and shopping, and would pick them up very soon. Upon my arrival, their mother answered the door. “It’s so nice of you to do this for them,” she said. “They are the best of buds today. It’s making me a bit nervous.”

I was prepared to give them my If-You-Guys-Start-To-Bicker-I’m-Taking-You-Back-Home-Immediately speech, but as soon as I saw them, I could tell there would be no bickering today. Yes, my friends. It was a Christmas miracle.

I was a bit nervous when we stepped outside and Alastair called out, “I’ve got shotgun.” Dibbsing the shotgun seat is always grounds for a really good sibling argument. Much to my surprise, however, Addie came up with a fine solution.

“I’ll drive!” she said. “Nana will be my adult supervisor.”


So, we all got into her 1999 Subaru that she bought with her own money from her aunt in preparation for her 16th birthday in March, me riding shotgun and Alastair in the back seat. We buckled up, and I said a quick and silent prayer to St. Jude (patron saint of impossible situations) for safety. And off we went.

Our first destination was the neighborhood Target. We have a nasty bit of road construction at the end of the street heading to Target that’s been going on now for — oh — 12 or 15 years, or so it feels. We have learned to approach Target from a different and less convenient direction. Addie took off in the appropriate direction, and I was pleased to see that she was cognizant of traffic situations. Until she turned on the left blinker instead of the right blinker.

“You need to turn right here, Addie,” said the 13-year-old boy in the backseat. I agreed fervently.

“My sense of direction is HORRIBLE, “Addie admitted. “I don’t know how to get anyplace.”

I silently thought to myself that perhaps a telephone mount for her car so that she can easily see Google Maps would be a great Christmas gift.

I followed the two of them around Target as they discussed their ideas for gifts for their parents, their siblings, their cousins, and their grandparents. I must admit it was so much fun to watch how they reached their conclusions. Mostly it was Addie telling Alastair what they would buy and Alastair making a joke about it. But they were still getting along, and continued to get along for the rest of the time we were together.

In addition to Target, our stops included Party City, the dollar store, and Michaels. The highlight was our sushi lunch…..

I’m here to tell you that yesterday was a special day. I don’t know how much longer either one of those teenagers will want to spend time with Nana. My best guess is I will be harder pressed to see much of Addie once she turns 16. For one thing, she may get hopelessly lost and NONE of us will see her again.

So, I relished the day, and my lips are sealed when it comes to the secrets I learned. Seriously. S-E-A-L-E-D.

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