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by Mari Janecek

 Something seemed amiss as we pulled up the gravel driveway to the home of our two grandchildren.  No dogs ambled down the steps to greet us.  Jordan usually jumped up and down with anticipation, her presence sadly absent .   All alone on the porch steps, sat eight year old Logan with his head down on his folded arms, shoulders heaving, making sobbing sounds.  

 After Jim helped me to exit the car so I wouldn't fall on the gravel like I did in April over spring break, I hurried over to where Logan sat and knelt down in front of him, wrapping Logan in my arms.

 "What's the matter, honey, I cooed.

 "You aren't my real grandmother just Jordan's, Mommy said so."  He choked on his words.

 Michelle, the prevaricating female canine, I thought biting down on my tongue to keep those thoughts from leaping out of my mouth.  My tongue contains more lines than lonesome George down at the corner bar uses on the ladies.  Groovy real groovy.

 Not a real grandmother.  Do I look fake?  I'm the only one Logan remembers and Jordan hasn't seen her other one in years.  Which grandmother held him first?   Logan had most of his teeth pulled by age five so I made food that he could easily eat.  The first Christmas Logan came to our home, I made my special lasagna which Logan devoured three helpings and for the next two days wanted it at every meal except breakfast.  Logan loves it when I cackle like a witch, sing like Betty Boop, play checkers and let him always win.  I love the way the sunlight dances on his reddish brown hair and how his blue eyes twinkle when excited about winning a video game. Logan likes to cuddle up next to me as I sing songs to him before bedtime, m fingers caressing his brows and face to relax him into a peaceful sleep.

 Who allows Logan to sneak up from behind and scare her, just to hear him chuckle with delight?  Who taught him to tie his shoelaces?  Who loved him since I first held him?   Right, the pretend gramma.

Michelle started to call me, "Mom" and we got along so well, even after she found another boyfriend and left Rob. Why now would she tell Logan anything differently about their relationship? I walked on eggshells around Michelle, never knowing what I’d find when they arrived in Concho.  Michelle's bi-polar illness caused mood swings that made Jordan and Logan pawns in her power play of life.

 Now, my tears mingled with Logan's.  I considered Logan a precious gift.  Blood lines don't connect people to a family, love does.  I hoped I wouldn't make matters worse.

 I unfurled my arms and said to Logan, "Honey, feel grammas' right arm."

 "Is your other one wrong?"   Logan asked, lightly touching my outstretched arm.

 I laughed and said," Logan, gramma feels real, so I must be your real gramma."

 His jack-o-lantern smile, full of haphazard teeth, replaced those tears.  Then I told him I loved him, we both were related to Jordan, so as Jordan's grandmother; I got him as a bonus.

 "Honey, how about if I adopt you?" I replied.

 "No way, gramma."  Ben adopted a kitten from the shelter and the landlord made him take her back.

 "Gramma never takes back her love when given and you could have a paper saying, "Mari Janecek adopts Logan Jastrow as her grandson forever."

 "Does Jordan have a paper like that?" His brows raised high on his precious face.

 "No, Jordan doesn't," I  grinned at him.

 "Then I want one," Logan said, wrapping his arms around my neck.

 He will receive it at Christmas.