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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)

TITLE: Patience
By Joanne Sher


Samantha breathed in a roomful of air and let it out slowly.

"Angela, sweetie? It goes in the hamper. Remember?"

A three-year-old blonde with bouncy ringlets batted her eyes and smiled sheepishly. "Oh, yeah." She grabbed the sock off the floor and placed it in the hamper, then went back to the suitcase, full of dirty clothes from their recent trip. She picked a shirt out of the bag and made a beeline for her dresser.

"Angie! The hamper. They all go in the hamper." Samantha shook her head.

"All of them?"

Samantha clenched her fists, closed her eyes, and nodded.

"Okay, mommy."

Keeping an eye on Angie, she slowly backed her way out of the room. Must I repeat myself 250 million times? I can't believe we just got back from vacation. I feel like I need one all over again.

Angie continued to place the clothing, piece by piece, in the hamper. Samantha looked into Jonah's room down the hall to find him sitting at his desk, staring down.

"Um, Mom?"

Samantha didn't like the tone of his voice. "Yes, Jonah?"

"I forgot to take this tiny book with me on our vacation. I have to read it by tomorrow."

Samantha sighed. "Then let's read it. At least it isn't long."

She knelt beside his desk chair as he opened the photocopied eight-page beginning reader. He had been reading one a night every weekday since a month or so into first grade. He needed to read it fluently to go on to the next one, and he only had a few books left.

The first few pages seemed to go smoothly. It was clear the "lesson" of this particular book was the "tion" ending. Each of the pages had one or two words with that letter combination on it.

"Steve and Don toook a vacation," Jonah read.

"Nice job, hun." It was clear Jonah knew "vacation" by sight. Not surprising, I suppose, since we just got back from one.

Jonah struggled in a few other spots, but worked his way through to the fourth page.


"Sound it out, sweetie."


'Jonah-what sound does 't-i-o-n' make?"

Jonah sighed. "Tieon?"

Samantha sighed and gritted her teeth. She turned back to the first page and pointed to a word. "What is that word?"

Jonah smiled. "Vacation."

She covered up the first four letters. "What does that say?"

He stared intently. "Tye on?"

She sighed and turned to the second page, pointing to a word there.


And another.


Again, she covered up all but the ending.


Samantha grumbled, then felt a light touch on her arm. "Can I give it a try, dear?"

Jonah turned around. "Hi, Grandma."

"Please." Samantha stepped back, breathed in deeply, and let it out slowly. "Thanks."

I'm so glad she came to help me get resettled. Samantha leaned on the side of the desk and watched with interest.

Grandma rubbed Jonah's back and grabbed a blank piece of paper off his desk with her wrinkled hands. "Hi there, Jonah. Do you have a pencil?"

Jonah nodded and opened his desk drawer. He grabbed one and gave it to her.
She wrote slowly and deliberately on the paper. t i o n = s h u n

"Whenever you see those four letters in a word, Jonah, they actually sound like 'shun.'" Grandma smiled. "Shall we try reading again?"

Jonah's smile was wide, and his eyes sparkled. "Yup."

He read it through without a glitch.

"Action: a-c-t-i-o-n. Nation: n-a-t-i-o-n,..." Jonah walked down the hall spelling excitedly.

"Thanks, Mom."

"My pleasure, Samantha," the older woman said. "Sometimes a bit of age, and a new perspective, is all you need."

"Patience helps too, doesn't it?" Samantha laughed.

"No doubt," she snickered. "But that often comes with age."

The two wandered into Angela's room, where Samantha again took a deep breath as she spotted her daughter placing a pair of socks-in her dresser.

"Angie, darling, can I show you what you need to do?" Samantha took the socks out of the drawer. She put them in Angela's hands and walked her to the hamper. "This is where they go. Each one goes in here. Would you like me to stay and watch?"

Angie nodded.

Samantha and her mother sat on Angie's bed and watched, giving her gentle reminders when Angie started walking in the wrong direction.

"Patience comes with age, eh?" Samantha winked. "I guess I'm getting older."

Grandma giggled.

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This article has been read 1213 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/10/08
Patient, and a good Biblical principle—the older women will teach the younger how to be … Well done.
LauraLee Shaw04/10/08
Darling story. Patience is something I could use a gramma's help with, or a mama's. Love the relationship between the family members. This has an excellent sense of place and feels very realistic.
Rita Garcia04/12/08
Realistic! Wonderful characterization!
Betty Castleberry04/12/08
So many little lessons here, but for me, the main one is that grandma's rock! This shows what a little patience can do. Loved this sweet story.
Dee Yoder 04/12/08
I love this concept! Young mothers are so isolated now and it's such a blessing to have an older woman to help out when the day just gets too long. Lovely story!
Laury Hubrich 04/12/08
Very nice story! Grandma's do rock, as Betty said. Well, some grandma's anyway:) Loved this.
Kristen Hester04/12/08
This is very sweet and well written, as always. Does this mean I'm getting younger? he he. I loved the lessons here.
Lyn Churchyard04/12/08
Good ol' Granny! It's true; most grandparents have much more patience than parents. You've done a wonderful job to show how grandmothers are part of God's plan for the family. Well done, well done!
Karen Wilber04/13/08
You can just feel the mom's frustration and I'm sure this has NO basis in reality. ;-D

The line about "getting older" is funny on so many levels. (Where'd this gray hair come from?)
Chely Roach04/13/08
A great story here...loved it.
Beth LaBuff 04/14/08
excepTIONal -- educaTIONal --I remember those days. I love this heart-warming story.
Jan Ackerson 04/14/08
I'd like that grandma to come into my classroom, please, when I'm impatient with my students. She's awesome.

My only nitpick is that these characters are a bit flat--not much fleshing out to develop them--one of the problems of ultra-short fiction. I know you'd have loved twice as many words!
Sara Harricharan 04/14/08
Awww! Poor Samantha...yep, I do agree, she is getting *gasp* older. This was a light, easy sort of read. I liked how the grandmother stepped in at the end and helped to smooth over all the ruffles from vacation-day-after 'stress'. Nice job! ^_^
Joshua Janoski04/15/08
I liked the ending lines. Unfortunately, I need patience now, and not when I'm older. Maybe, that's why I sometimes feel like an old man. I can blame it on having to wait for things. :)

The grandma was great, and I like how she explained the school lesson to the child. It reminded me of when I was a kid just learning to read.

This was a delightful story and a nice change from many of the very serious entries this week (including my own serious entry). :)
Loren T. Lowery04/15/08
Three cheers for the wizened ones amongst us and this phrase "Sometimes a bit of age, and a new perspective, is all you need." puts a whole "new" perspective on things. Really enjoyed this!
Joy Faire Stewart04/15/08
Unique take on this week's subject and excellent lesson.
Marita Thelander 04/16/08
Nice job...poor mamma...Angela alone is going to keep her on her toes and teach her much patience for years.
Debbie Wistrom04/16/08
While I miss your Bible stories, this was wonderful. If you want the dirty socks in the hamper when they are 20, they must learn it early. I loved Angela's character. One commentor said that grandmas rock...I'd say this grandma is a rock!
Patty Wysong04/16/08
Sweet story! Now, you say age is the key to patience? Maybe it's a good thing I'm getting older, then!! LoL. Huggles!
Ann Renae Hair04/26/08
How sweet. Grandmas are so much more patient! But, I'm learning...What a neat trick with the 'shun'. Great work once again. Thanks for the reminder.
Vickie Reece12/18/08
Sweet! sweet! story.thanks for the reminder because I have three grandchildren and I need a lot of PATIENCE.