Grandmother, Charlene W. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 5, 2007
By
I don’t have a lot of people in my life worth looking up to, but there is one. Her face has as many cracks as a sidewalk where a tree root has come through. She towers over me like a skyscraper. She works hard at what she does and puts her life on hold to satisfy others’ needs and wants. I’m one of many people who love and respect her. Her name is Charlene, and she is my grandmother.

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has lived by herself. That all changed two years ago when my three siblings were taken away from their mother. Granny wasn’t sure if she could care for them because the two youngest are deaf, and incapable of communicating with her. She didn’t even know what they wanted for breakfast. Granny had two options: take them into her care or allow the state to place them in foster care. She couldn’t deal with the guilt of letting this happen, so she is giving them the best life she can. I moved ­into my grandmother’s home to help. ­After all, I am their older sister and I know how to communicate with them.

Every day I see my grandmother struggling to work and come home to four children. She prepares three meals a day, cleans our home, washes four loads of laundry each day, and checks our homework. She makes sure all the kids have a bath and always have ironed school clothes.

One day I was relaxing on the couch watching television as the kids tore through the house being bad as usual. Suddenly a puff of heat overpowered me. I looked to see my grandmother sitting next to me. I realized she had a look of discomfort on her face. I was nervous ­because she appeared hopeless. I said, “Grandma, don’t worry about dinner. I’ll do it.”

She replied, “Thanks, baby. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

I sat there a few seconds, amazed. That was the first time I realized what she went through to make us happy. She works at her day care six days a week dealing with children five months to 12 years old. She loves kids – I guess that’s one of the reasons she opened it – but she never imagined at 55 she’d be raising them at home.

On top of that, she attends class four days a week to learn sign language. The instructor told her to make sure she got a lot of practice with my siblings ­because that’s the only way she’d learn. She comes home and tries to ask them questions, which isn’t easy. Her hands are as stiff as a broken arm and sign language is so foreign to her. It hurts her when she doesn’t understand them; that’s why she is so passionate about learning.

She promised herself that she wasn’t going to let them go back to the lifestyle they were used to. She didn’t want them to come home saying other kids laughed because of their clothes. She didn’t want them to wonder where their next meal was coming from. All she wants is for them to have a normal life and a wonderful childhood.

Sometimes she thinks about giving up, but she never does. She holds onto the promise she made. I’m grateful to have a loving granny who teaches me ­perseverance.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Valkyrie_123 said...
Jun. 22, 2009 at 6:51 am
thats true
 
lilcherry said...
Oct. 16, 2008 at 1:14 am
i know what you are talking about i only had one hero my mom but when i was 6 she died i know how it is to only have one hero
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback