“Just What I Needed,” Friend, Dec. 2007, 28–29
1. Mathan’s great-grandma always had interesting things in her big purse. If Mathan was hungry, she had a treat. If Mathan was bored, she pulled out a pad of paper for him to draw on. And if Mathan got hurt, she always had a bandage. But the thing that he loved the most was Great-Grandma’s bottle of lotion.
2. Great-Grandma often took out her lotion and rubbed it on her hands. She said it helped keep her hands smooth and soft. Mathan thought this was important because he knew that Great-Grandma did a lot with her hands. She made delicious grape jelly, she sewed soft baby blankets, and she played the piano.
3. Sometimes Great-Grandma shared her lotion with Mathan. When he was feeling restless or unhappy, she would take his hands in hers and squeeze out the cool lotion. Then she would gently rub it on his fingers, the backs of each hand, and then the palms. The sweet smell of the lotion and the touch of her soft hands made him feel calm and content. “There now,” she would say. “That’s just what you needed.” And it was just what Mathan needed.
4. Over time, Great-Grandma got very old. She couldn’t make jelly or sew blankets or play the piano. She no longer carried her big purse full of treats, pads of paper, bandages, and lotion. Most of the time she didn’t even look at Mathan. She just sat in her wheelchair with her hands in her lap. Mathan thought she looked unhappy and tired. It made him feel sad.
5. One day when Mathan went to visit Great-Grandma, he brought a bottle of lotion with him. While she was sitting in her wheelchair, Mathan gently took her wrinkled hands in his and squeezed out the cool lotion. He gently rubbed it on her fingers, the backs of her hands, and then the palms.
6. When Mathan was finished with her hands, he carefully removed her slippers and rubbed the lotion on her feet. After he replaced her slippers he looked up to see Great-Grandma’s bright blue eyes looking at him. “Thank you, Mathan,” she whispered. “That’s just what I needed.”