Nora recently sent a card to Liam’s mom (she goes by Grandmère and she lives in Connecticut). After telling me what she wanted to write in the message part of the card, Nora signed her name and drew her customary picture.
Her drawing consisted of several people, as it often does. I always ask Nora to tell me about the drawing so I can label the people or objects as necessary. Generally, this adds to the endearing quality of these notes. When I asked her to tell me about her drawing, she began pointing out the people: “This one’s mommy. And this one is me. This one is Frances, and this one is Grandma.”
“Grandma” is my mom. She lives close by, here in Pennsylvania. Naturally, she is the more familiar grandparent. I talked to Nora about why she might want to include Grandmère in her drawing and not Grandma—that Grandmère would probably really enjoy seeing a drawing of Grandmère with our family since she was the intended recipient of the card.
Nora looked like she didn’t totally get it but acquiesced anyway. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “OK.” She seemed mildly disappointed.
I finished labeling the drawing and reread Nora’s note aloud. I also went over her pictures one last time, just to make sure I had everything correct: “So this one’s mommy, right? And here is you. This one is Frances, and this one is Grandmère.”
I looked to her for confirmation and she responded with a heavy sigh, “Yeah. Even though that’s really Grandma.”
I tried to keep from laughing out loud and told her I thought Grandmère would really be pleased. Sometimes these lessons in learning to be considerate of other’s feelings can be difficult to embrace.