Whisper of Love: Bonds Between Grandmothers and Granddaughters

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Prose by Barbara Johnstone

The grandmother scooped up the baby girl and held her tightly. She walked slowly across the room and settled into a chair.  Placing the baby carefully on her lap, she kissed her forehead, then her cheeks, and even her wiggly toes. She talked to the baby and whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

The baby girl cooed and cried, slept and ate. As she grew, she learned to sit and crawl and toddle about. When she stumbled and fell, her grandmother scooped her up from the ground and hugged her tightly. She wiped away the baby’s tears and smoothed out her tousled hair.  She put the baby on her lap and whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

When she was 10, the granddaughter played softball for her neighborhood team. But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t hit the ball, she couldn’t catch the ball, and she couldn’t even run to the bases fast enough.

Feeling sad, the granddaughter cried and flung herself onto her bed. The grandmother nudged her up, walked slowly across the room, and sat down in a chair. She wiped away the youngster’s tears and smoothed out her tousled hair. They talked and giggled, and talked some more. Then, quietly, the grandmother whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

The years went by and the skinny little girl grew into a beautiful teenager. Only no one seemed to understand what it was like to be 16. Her brother pestered her, her father complained about her long phone calls, and her mother made her clean her room.

But the grandmother, in her very quiet manner, would sit in a chair and hold out her arms for the teen. Although the granddaughter thought that perhaps she was getting too old for this, she gently sat on her grandmother’s lap. They talked and giggled and talked some more. Then quietly, the grandmother whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

Soon the young girl was a young lady.  She went off to college, but sometimes she felt lonely. Her grandmother always seemed to know. She wrote letters and sent packages with homemade cookies. When the girl journeyed home for the holidays, she sat with her grandmother. They talked and giggled and talked some more. Then her grandmother whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

One day, many years later, the granddaughter was to be married. The night before her wedding, when she was very nervous, her aging grandmother walked slowly across the room and settled down into a chair. She held out her arms and the granddaughter sat gingerly on her lap. They talked and giggled and talked some more. Then quietly, the grandmother whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

Soon the granddaughter moved far away– across the country with her new husband. At first, the grandmother wrote many letters. But, as she grew older, her memory faded and she became very ill. At times, she forgot who she was and where she lived.

The granddaughter flew across the country to visit her. She walked into the nursing home and down the long, narrow hall. She tiptoed into her grandmother’s room and stared at the thin, feeble woman lying in bed.

Gently, she touched her grandmother’s hand and talked quietly to her. The grandmother stirred slightly, but did not open her eyes.

Then, very carefully, the young lady picked up her grandmother. She walked slowly across the room and sat down in a chair. She smoothed out her grandmother’s tousled hair and kissed her forehead. Very quietly, she whispered:

No person’s too big,

No lap is too small,

No matter what trouble

Love can heal all.

Slowly, the frail, delicate woman turned toward her granddaughter. Struggling, she raised her head and tilted her face upward. Her eyes flickered, a smile spread across her face, and a lone tear rolled down her cheek.

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Barbara is an educator at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. She possesses a bachelor of science degree in Spanish and health education (Kent State University), and two master degrees in special education (Eastern Michigan University). She was honored to receive an outstanding merit award from the Michigan Education Association’s Showcasing Public Schools for a program that transformed the approach to learning for secondary students at Tecumseh High School. Her professional affiliations include being a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Toledo Area Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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