“The Most Important Job,” Friend, September 2020
Amelia liked visiting Grandma. She liked playing with the toy animals, especially with Grandma’s soft stuffed bunny. But today wasn’t for playing. Today was for helping.
On the way to Grandma’s house, Amelia’s sisters talked about which jobs they wanted to do.
Sarah wanted to sweep. Emily wanted to mop. And Mom asked Alyssa to clean the windows.
“What about me?” Amelia asked. “Should I help dust?”
“I have a special job for you,” Mom said. “I need you to listen.”
Amelia waited. “OK, I’m listening. What is it?”
“That’s the job!” Mom said with a laugh. “Just listen. Sit with Grandma and listen while she talks. It might be the most important job we do all day.”
How could listening be the most important job? Amelia wondered. It seemed like dusting would be more of a real job! But Amelia was willing to try.
Grandma was glad to see them. Everyone else got started on their jobs. Amelia went and sat next to Grandma on the couch. Amelia noticed the stuffed bunny in the corner. “I like your rabbit,” she said.
Grandma smiled. “Did I ever tell you about my brother Mel and the baby bunny?”
Amelia was surprised. “A real bunny?”
Grandma nodded. “It was an orphan he found. He snuggled it inside his shirt so it would be safe.” Grandma told Amelia about the rabbit pen Mel built.
That story reminded Grandma of other stories. She told about a pet calf she named Star. She used to ride on Star’s back! Amelia giggled as she pictured Grandma riding a baby cow. It wasn’t easy imagining Grandma as a little girl.
Grandma talked and talked. She told the rabbit story again. Another time, she even stopped in the middle of a story and started over.
Amelia tried to keep listening, but she was getting tired. Mom and the other girls were still working. It was hard to sit and listen! But Grandma smiled. She seemed happy to be sharing her stories.
A few minutes later, Mom came in. “All done! We’re ready go.”
“That was so nice,” Grandma told Amelia. “I love visiting with you!”
Amelia gave her grandma a big hug. She saw tears in Grandma’s eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Amelia asked.
“Nothing’s wrong,” Grandma said. “Thank you for talking with me. I love you.”
Amelia felt warm all the way inside. “I love you too,” she said. “I’ll come again soon.”
On the way home, Alyssa asked, “How was listening, Amelia?”
“It was harder than I thought. I think I was done listening before Grandma was done talking!”
“You were terrific!” Mom said.
“Thanks,” Amelia said. “Some of the stories she told were fun. Did you know Grandma had a pet calf?”
“Really?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah! Grandma used to ride it,” Amelia said, nodding. “Its name was Star.”
Amelia told them all of Grandma’s other stories. It was pretty cool to learn so much about her.
Emily grinned. “Maybe you could trade me jobs next time. I want a chance to listen!”