“Oh no!” Jamie was standing at the side of the refrigerator, pointing to the calendar.
“What is it dear?” Betty hurried into the kitchen, gripping her slippers with her toes.
“Grandma, tomorrow is Mother’s Day!” Horror flashed across the little girl’s face, eyes panicked.
Betty exhaled. She had been expecting something worse … a mouse, a spider. Maybe an empty cookie box. But there were no varmints in sight, and the full package of gingersnaps waited for them on the counter.
“Well, you knew that, Jamie. That’s why you’re staying with me tonight, remember? We’re going to have our slumber party, and then your mommy and daddy will come pick us up for Mother’s Day service at church.” Betty ran her fingers through the ends of her granddaughter’s hair.
Tears welled in Jamie’s eyes.
“I guess, but … .” Jamie looked confused.
“What is it, dear?”
“I didn’t get Mommy a present, or a card, or anything!”
Betty caressed the back of the girl’s head now. “Oh, that’s alright, honey. Your mommy just wants to spend time with you on Mother’s Day. That’s all that matters to her.”
“No! I have to get her a card. Can you please take me to buy one, Grandma?”
It was already after nine o’clock, and the only store in Belletown had been closed for hours. The next town was over half an hour away, and Betty doubted there’d be anything open there, either. The charms of country life, she supposed.
“Oh, honey,” Betty said. “Everything is closed. I’m afraid there’s just nowhere to buy a card at his hour.”
“Please, Grandma … please!” Jamie was six years old, and Betty had been around long enough to know that when a child that age got full-on worked up, they could be downright inconsolable. She had to act fast.
“Hey, you know what?” Betty said, holding Jamie by the shoulders and smiling into her face. “I have an idea!”
The girl looked suspicious, but interested. “Really?”
Betty nodded. “You bet!” She led the girl to the counter and helped her hop up on a chair. “Now, do you want chocolate or white milk with your cookies?”
“Cookies?” Jamie’s eyes followed her grandmother as Betty loaded a plate with gingersnaps and grabbed a large glass from the cabinet.
“Yep,” Betty said. “My plan requires a full belly, so you need to get started.”
The hint of a grin curled the girl’s lips. “Chocolate, I guess.”
Betty nodded and poured the milk, then set the plate and glass in front of her granddaughter. “Here you go … gingersnaps and chocolate-I-guess milk!”
That brought a full smile to Jamie’s face, and she dug in. “OK, Grandma … what about your plan?”
Betty winked. “It’s already in motion, my dear. Now, you sit here and fuel up, and I’ll go get our supplies.”
Jamie followed Betty with her eyes as the old lady walked down the hallway toward one of the bedrooms. The girl heard drawers opening and closing, some soft thumping, and she strained her neck to see what was going on. After a couple of minutes, Betty stepped back into the kitchen carrying two cardboard boxes.
She placed these on the counter and sat across from her granddaughter.
“What’s in those?” Jamie asked.
“Well,” Betty said as she removed the lid from one of the boxes, “I thought since we can’t buy a card for your mommy, we’d just make one!” She tilted the box toward Jamie, revealing a stack of thick, shiny paper and an array of colored pencils, markers, stickers, and other crafty materials.
Jamie’s face fell. “No, Grandma, I can’t make a card for Mommy. I want to give her something nice.”
Betty nodded. “Would you like to see my favorite Mother’s Day card ever, Jamie?”
The girl shrugged. “I guess.”
Betty removed the lid from the second box, making sure to flash it at Jamie — “Janelle” was written across the top in heavy black marker.
“Hey, why is Mommy’s name on that box?” Jamie asked.
Betty retrieved a stack of folded papers from the box and spread them on the counter top. They were covered with drawings of all sorts and all colors, ranging from stick figures to rich, rolling landscapes.
All were done in crayons and pencils.
“Well, Jamie, this is where I keep all the cards your mother gave me while she was growing up.” Betty gestured to the handmade creations in front of her.
“Mommy made those!”
“She sure did, honey. Aren’t they beautiful?”
“They sure are!” Jamie’s eyes were wide. “Which one is your favorite, Grandma?”
It was Betty’s turn to shrug. “Well, I guess that was a trick question. They’re all my favorite!”
“Mine too!” Jamie shrieked.
“So, are you ready to make a card now?”
Jamie’s face fell again, and Betty thought she had lost the battle. “What’s wrong now, dear?”
The girl pointed to the box of supplies, and flashed her doe eyes up at Betty. “Do you think I could make two cards, Grandma?”