A doting grandmother took her grandson on a special date, which he once claimed to be the “best day of his life.” After circumstances forced him to move away, they lost touch and only saw each other again after fifteen years, hoping it wasn’t too late to make up for the lost time.
Emelia lived in the same neighborhood in Los Angeles as her daughter Mia, son-in-law James, and grandson Levi. Because they lived so close to one another, they saw each other frequently, having dinners together and celebrating the holidays as a family.
One day, James revealed to Mia and Levi that he got a great job opportunity at a top company, but they’d be forced to move to New York, a five-hour flight from where they currently lived.
“Will we be able to take mom?” Mia worriedly asked. She feared her mom would be left alone, with no one else to care for her. James hesitantly shook his head.
“I’m sorry, honey, but New York living is different from Los Angeles. Everything is fast-paced there; we wouldn’t be able to care for her,” he told his wife. “She’s much better off here, maybe in a nursing home, if she agrees. If not, we can hire a private nurse. We can afford one here. Getting one in New York is more costly,” he added.
Mia couldn’t help but cry upon hearing she’d have to leave her 65-year-old mother to live alone. However, she knew she had to support her husband’s career, as it was what was bringing food to the table.
Levi was equally sad that he had to leave his grandma Emelia behind. She practically raised him since his parents both worked hard the entire day. He would spend his afternoons with his grandmother, and they shared a special bond that he knew would be difficult to replace.
When they broke the news to Emelia, she was heartbroken. “I am so happy for you, James, congratulations on the great job opportunity,” she said warmly. “It’s just a pity I won’t be seeing you often anymore.”
“We’ll keep in touch, grandma. I promise!” Levi said, giving her a tight hug. “There’s the internet, and there’s the phone, too. I promise to always call you,” he assured.
Emelia smiled and thanked Levi for promising to keep in touch. She agreed to get a private caregiver, wanting to remain in her house instead of moving to a nursing home. “I’d like to be reminded of our fun times in this home. I want to live here for the rest of my life,” she told her daughter.
Mia granted her mom’s wishes and arranged for a caregiver to live with Emelia round the clock. They also coordinated with the caregiver to provide her with everything she needed, including her daily food and medicines.
During the first few months of Mia, James, and Levi’s move to New York, they kept in touch with one another through the internet. “How do you do this, dear?” Emelia asked her caregiver as she tried to navigate through her new smartphone.
“They’re on the video call,” Emelia’s caregiver would happily tell her. “Just look at the screen, and you’ll see them,” she said, pointing to the smartphone.
Upon seeing Mia and Levi on the screen, Emelia’s face lit up with a smile. “Hi! How are you all doing there?” she asked.
“We’re doing alright here, mom. How about you? What have you been up to?” Mia inquired.
“Don’t worry about me. I’m doing fine. Selena here is taking good care of me. Come, say hi to them.” She gestured for her caregiver to join the call.
They had daily video calls for the first couple of months while Mia and Levi were still adjusting to their new home. Mia had yet to find a job, and Levi was still on summer vacation.
Unfortunately, when things started picking up for them, the video calls lessened. Emelia’s calls were left unanswered, and the text messages became shorter and far between. “I’m already busy with school, grandma. I’ll call you when I have free time,” Levi once texted her.
One day, Emelia couldn’t take it any longer. She asked Selena to check how much flights to New York cost because she wanted to visit her family.
Her caregiver happily obliged and searched the internet for cheap fares. “The cheapest straight flight from Los Angeles to New York is $250, Emelia,” she informed her. “Do you want to book a flight?”
Emelia immediately said yes, even if she still had to check how much money she had left. Most of her cash on hand went to her utilities and cellphone bills, while Mia took care of her other expenses.
After calculating how much she had to allocate for her expenses, Emelia was left with about two thousand dollars extra. She excitedly handed Selena $250 to pay for the flight.
Mia hadn’t been answering Emelia’s calls, so she informed her daughter through a text message that she was about to fly to New York. She hoped that her daughter would have seen her message by the time she landed.
Eventually, Mia did see the message and was surprised to read it. “Mom booked a flight to New York!” she told her husband and son. “She’s on the flight right now. Oh gosh, why didn’t she say anything earlier?”
She began to panic because she had to prepare so many things for Emelia’s visit. Not only did she have to take a leave from work to care for her mom, but she also had to clean the apartment and prepare a comfortable space for her mom to sleep in.
“How long is she here for?” Levi asked. “I’d love to spend time with grandma, but I have a school trip scheduled in two days, remember?”
Mia shrugged. “I don’t know, but it’s alright, sweetheart. You don’t need to cancel your trip. Spend the entire day with your grandma tomorrow, and that should be fine. I’m sure she’d appreciate that already,” she told Levi.
The entire family went to the airport to pick Emelia up. Upon seeing each other, they couldn’t help but shed some tears after a couple of months apart. “You look good, mom,” Mia tearfully said as she embraced her.
“I’m sorry for the surprise,” Emelia apologized. “I just missed you so much. I couldn’t help but visit. Selena, my caretaker, helped me book my ticket. I hope I’m not intruding,” she said.
James shook his head. “That’s nonsense, mom. You’re family. I’m glad you’re able to visit and see our new home. Come on, let’s get going so we can take you out to dinner.”
That night, Emelia was the happiest person on earth. She missed being with her family; seeing them all at the same dinner table again made her feel warm. “I missed this,” she couldn’t help but say.
Levi told his grandmother the next day was about the two of them. “Let’s go and explore Coney Island,” the young teenager said.
Emelia did not know anything about Coney Island, but she happily agreed. “We’ll do whatever you want to do, Levi,” she smiled.
The following day, Emelia and Levi took the subway to Coney Island. They ate a hearty lunch at Levi’s favorite diner and went to Luna Park, Coney Island’s famous amusement park.
“Grandma, let’s ride the Ferris wheel together!” Levi said, pointing to it. Emelia was admittedly afraid of heights, but because her grandson wanted it, she happily obliged.
“Alright, let’s go. I don’t usually ride these things because of my fear of heights, so let’s make sure to take a picture,” she said, holding her grandson’s hand as they lined up for tickets.
After enjoying the rides in the park, they bought ice cream and played parlor games. “Grandma, look at that big stuffed toy!” Levi pointed. “Let me try and win it,” he said.
They approached the game booth, which was a 3-point basketball shoot-out. If Levi could shoot three consecutive times, they could win a prize.
The proud grandmother recorded the game, and true enough, Levi was able to score three times. “Wow! I have a skilled grandson!” she said, hugging Levi. They took home the giant teddy bear, which Levi said he’d keep in his room.
Before going to bed that night, Levi hugged his grandmother. “Thank you so much, grandma. This is the best day of my life,” he told her. “I hope we can have more days like this. I promise we’ll repeat it in the future.”
Emelia was in tears because this was all she ever wanted. She wanted to see her grandson happy, and she was glad she made him happy, even if it meant spending the last of her savings on just one trip.
She stayed in New York for a couple more days but quickly realized that her family was extremely busy. She was often left alone in the mornings and afternoons and could only spend time with Mia and James in the evenings.
Emelia returned home not knowing it would be the last time she would see her family in a long time. Over the years, she lost touch with them. Mia would call to check up on her, but it was only to see whether or not she had everything she needed. They made no effort to visit, claiming Levi was always busy with school.
Levi grew up and started to have other interests. He no longer wanted to spend as much time with family because he now had a group of friends he could hang out with. Likewise, Mia and James couldn’t fly all the way to Los Angeles to see Emelia because their work life was thriving.
Fifteen years had passed, and Emelia was about to turn 80. She had a health scare when she was diagnosed with pneumonia and recuperated at home after being in the hospital for weeks.
Having been alone for so long, Emelia no longer expected Mia, James, or Levi to care. She relied on her caregivers and assumed they would be the only people she’d be interacting with until she passed on.
However, one day, she unexpectedly heard the doorbell. She slowly made her way to the door and froze when she opened it.
In front of her stood a tall, brunette young boy who looked to be in his late 20s. After recognizing the small mole on the side of the man’s left eye, she instantly knew it was her grandson.
“Levi?” she asked. “Is it you?”
Levi nodded his head and quickly embraced his grandmother. “I’m so sorry, grandma,” he apologized. “I’m sorry I let life get in the way of our relationship. I came here because I recently saw a picture of us at Coney Island. I realized I had completely neglected you for so long,” Levi explained.
Emelia was in tears. She never expected to see her family again. “I can’t believe you’re here. This is the best day of my life,” she cried.
Levi told his grandmother that he was there to keep his promise to have another good day like the one they had during their trip to Coney Island. “I know you can’t go to the amusement park anymore, so I’ve decided to bring the fun here.” He smiled.
He had a suitcase with him filled with memorabilia from Coney Island and a photo album that he wished to leave with his grandmother. They spent the afternoon looking through old photos and remembering the wonderful times they spent together in his childhood.
“I’m sorry for losing contact with you, grandma,” Levi said again before they ate dinner together. “You’re the reason I had such a great childhood, and I can’t thank you enough for that. Now, it’s my turn to make sure you enjoy the rest of your life,” he told her.
Since that day, Levi visited his grandmother once every month. He was earning a good salary, which meant being able to afford the long trip from New York to Los Angeles.
Eventually, Levi’s company even allowed him to have a hybrid work set-up, enabling him to stay in Los Angeles for longer. He cared for his grandmother and encouraged Mia and James to fly with him whenever possible.
What can we learn from this story?
Never forget those who raised you. Emelia lived most of her senior days alone after her family moved to a different state. She thought her family forgot about her, only for her grandson to return one day to make things right and give her the care she deserved.
It’s never too late to make things right. Although it took Levi fifteen years to revisit his grandmother, it still gave them enough time to spend with one another. He made sure to compensate for the lost time and cared for Emelia as she got older.