Family is important. When times get tough we need someone to rely on, whether it is our parents, our siblings, or our grandparents. Not everyone is blessed with a large family and it can be difficult to find people to turn to in times of trouble and even during happy times when you need someone to talk to. This story that we were recently told by a reader, shows that not all family has to be based on blood relations.
Katie’s childhood was similar to many mid-west American children. Her father was a truck driver and often went on such long journeys that his family would not see him for days. Her mother worked hard as well and Katie had no siblings. This meant that Katie spent a lot of time alone as a child. It wasn’t a big deal though, she had two dogs as pets and they were her best friends. When she was young she even had some imaginary friends to keep her company in the backyard. However, it is fair to say that Katie was a little lonely.
When Katie was three, her family moved to a new house. It was quieter than their last place. There were no other children in the neighborhood so Katie was not gifted a whole set of new friends. Their next-door neighbors were elderly so didn’t appear to fit the bill either. Yet on the first day that Katie moved in, she was in the backyard and the elderly woman reached through the chickenwire fence to give Katie some fresh fruit. She didn’t know it then, but an important connection had been made.
Katie was a child with a lot of energy, she talked a lot. She talked to her father whenever he was home and to her mother whenever she wasn’t busy. As time went on she talked more and more to the elderly couple next door and to her surprise she found they really enjoyed it. The couple soon became friends with Katie’s parents as well. As the family knew nobody around the elderly couple agreed to babysit for the parents to allow them to go on a date. Katie and the elderly couple thoroughly enjoyed it and it soon became a monthly ritual.
When Katie was five she had an incredible idea. She was watching television at home when she suddenly turned to her parents and asked: “Can I adopt Wendy and Ted as grandparents?” The parents smiled and told Katie she could ask them tomorrow. When she went to the house and popped the question, Wendy burst into tears with joy. She loved the time she had with Katie and, having never had children, was delighted at the chance to have a grandkid.
The elderly couple was so excited that they made an adoption certificate for Katie and framed it in their hallway. Katie was allowed to visit whenever she wanted and became incredibly close to the couple. As she grew up that bond only grew stronger. Wendy became a source of sage advice to Katie and Ted was the one who taught Katie how to ride a bicycle and how to drive a car!
The pair encouraged Katie to study and when it came time for her to go to university they gave her a large sum of money to help. Without it, she would not have been able to attend. Wendy revealed at that point, that they had been saving for her to go to university since the day she asked them to be her adopted grandparents. If this story doesn’t show the importance of family, nothing does. More than that though, it shows the true meaning of family. It is not about the family you are blood-related to, it is about the people who care about you.