A New Friend and Perspective

I picked up the phone, slowly dialing the number to her house. All I could think was, What could we possibly have a conversation about? Nothing! I didn’t think I could have anything in common with someone who is 50 years older than me.
“Your grandmother won’t be around forever,” my mom said. So I just did what she told me and painfully called my grandmother. What I didn’t know was that phone call would change my perspective on life and my grandmother.

When she answered the phone, I planned to have a small, 10-minute exchange and be done. Instead, she invited me to lunch so we could catch up. Hesitantly, I replied with a, “That sounds great.”
When I hung up the phone, I immediately regretted agreeing to the lunch date. How was I going to fit this into my busy schedule of homework, lacrosse, and friends? There was no way of getting around the lunch date with my grandmother at The Olive Garden at 11:30a.m. It was not my ideal Saturday, but I sucked it up and went anyway. Me and my grandmother… nothing to talk about.

Surprisingly, my Saturday morning wasn’t agonizing. I hadn’t seen my grandmother for a few months and surprisingly, it was nice to see her. I lost track of time listening about her recent trip to Europe and how she saw the renowned Eiffel Tower. She told me stories about her sewing class and the latest gossip on her friend Sherry and her new boyfriend. I wasn’t aware that 60 year-old people had a social life. It turned out that her life wasn’t as mundane as I thought. For once, I was content without friends, without my cell phone, and without my iPod. We planned to meet again at her house. This time, my mom didn’t have to beg me.

This time, as I drove to meet her, I didn’t feel the gloom of last Saturday. Questions I wanted to ask were building up in my head: What was my mom like as a child? What was grandpa like? What did you do when you were my age?
As we looked through pictures, I was in awe. I had never seen, nor imagined, my grandmother as a young girl. She reminded me of myself. I learned that as humans, we share human experiences, no matter what age.
She told me about the time she and her friends snuck out and went swimming in the lake late at night.
“I was really good at not getting caught.” She laughed. I listened to the story about the first time she met my grandfather.
“You would have adored him. He was the funniest man I’d ever met.” We sorted through three shoeboxes of photographs. There was a fascinating story for each one.

Ever since that first phone call to my grandmother, we have talked at least once a week. I regret not calling her earlier. Her advice has taught me things that can’t be learned in a textbook. She taught me to be open to new things, to enjoy the simple things, and to appreciate what life has given me. I have gained a friend, a mentor, and a new perspective.

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