Chicago's Community Response to COVID-19

Joan Mulcahy visits with her grandchildren during the pandemic

Chalk Grandma

Saturday evening something wonderful happened, right in the middle of a pandemic. My daughter Cathleen, my son-in-law Paul and two of my grandchildren came by for a visit. Ameilia is 8 years old, Augie is 6. 

I heard excited children's voices before I saw the car turn the corner. Paul parked the car and the kids jumped out the car, Amelia first, she ran to me. 

"Grandma I have a present for you." "Open it right away"  as she placed it on the bottom step of my porch, six feet away. 
"I love the red balloon Amelia!" 
"There's more Grandma."

I heard strange sounds coming from the bag, like an old lady groaning in pain, and I pulled out a stuffed animal pet.
"It talks to you so you don't get lonely Grandma." 
And Augie added, "If you don't take care of it, it cries." 
"And there's a blanket for the pet, so you can sleep with it Grandma."
"And a toy for the pet so that it doesn't cry" added Augie. 

I had a gift for them too. I bought the biggest box of colored chalk I could find, 36 colors, because I know they both love to draw. Amelia asked me to sit in my chair, all straight, and fold my hands on my lap. I posed, and she set out drawing my likeness in chalk, sitting in a white wicker chair. Every color was a match, blue for my jeans, purple for my shirt, flesh for my face. 

After she finished, she laid down right on the sidewalk, next to the drawing of "chalk me." Augie laid down too, and put his arm around "chalk me." Amelia made her dad, standing above, take a picture of it. It is a gorgeous photo of two grandchildren hugging a chalk grandma.  

I'm getting the photo blown up, framed and I am keeping it for the rest of my life. 

Augie was very tired. Cathleen said it was because he ran around like crazy all day. At one point, he snuggled close to his daddy and said he wanted to go to sleep. Cathleen brought him a blanket from the car and covered him. He probably would have fallen asleep right there on the sidewalk, but it was an unmistakable sign to go home. 

It was sad when they left, not so much for me, I can take it, but for them. Amelia had tears in her eyes. I shouted after them, "This is not going to last forever!" "Don't worry!"  "We will have our overnighters and our pajama parties again!" "It's going to be all right!" 

As they drove away I looked at chalk me and smiled. Yep, it is going to be all right, because you can't stop love. It's impossible.

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