Today’s journey took me to Pittsburg, KS and the elementary school of my grandson, Jonathan. I have so enjoyed these school lunch breaks with my younger grandchildren, and today it was Jonathan’s turn.
He requested a chicken nugget meal from Wendy’s and a root beer. Standing near the cafeteria door, with lunch in hand, I watched for his third grade class to appear. Jonathan was all smiles when he spotted me and he escorted me to a booth in the lunch room. I thought that was cool, having booths in the cafeteria, along with the more traditional picnic table style seating.
Jonathan politely introduced me to his friends and the lunch helpers by saying, “This is my Yaya. She knows EVERYTHING about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings!” That made me smile! As Jonathan ate we chatted about his school, his favorite part of school (recess) and his favorite activities. This intelligent, handsome young man, with bright blue eyes, enjoys Boy Scouts and has a developing interest in theater and acting. He has the gift of speaking well in front of others and without a hint of shyness. I’m excited to see where he goes with that ability!
Jonathan, like all my grandchildren, is a gifted communicator too. When they were young, I taught my kids that carrying on a conversation is like playing ball. When someone speaks to you, it’s like being tossed a ball. You throw it back, figuratively, by speaking back or asking a question. If you give a short answer or no answer, it’s like dropping the ball. My kids and their spouses have taught their children well. They are all excellent communicators, whether with other children or with adults.
It wasn’t long before Jonathan introduced Tolkien’s stories into our conversation. We had a lively talk about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, sharing who our favorite characters are (Jonathan likes Frodo and Gandalf) and tossing out quotes and favorite scenes. This thoughtful boy asked me why I like the Middle Earth stories and movies so much and listened attentively as I shared that I like stories about transformation. And the Middle Earth characters all grow and become who they are destined to be, as they journey. Jonathan gets that. He’s on a journey as well, and growing into the person he is born to be.
All too soon it was time for Jonathan to go back to class. We hugged and discussed getting together again soon. As I started up the stairs, I heard Jonathan calling out “Yaya…Yaya!” I turned to see him bringing his teacher to meet me. He introduced me with the line about knowing EVERYTHING about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which made his teacher laugh. We had a pleasant chat. She remarked that I was a new grandmother for Jonathan and that he was fortunate to have so many grandparents who care about him. That’s so true! One can’t have too many loving grandparents. And I am blessed by having five beautiful grandchildren and fortunate to have Jonathan as one of them. This boy will travel far. I’m happy to accompany him on this part of his journey.