As I carried my books home from school, they felt heavier than usual. How did I get this assignment? Mr. Kendrick says that I am very smart, and I usually need more challenging work. I don’t believe him. I think he is just trying to make my 5th grade year at Bellinger Elementary School a nightmare. Once I got home, my grandmother was waiting with an afterschool snack. I usually come home, eat my snack, change my clothes, go out and play for about an hour, come in and do my homework. It’s been an ongoing debate between my grandmother and myself whether or not I should do my homework before or after I go out and play. I have convinced her that I feel more energized after going out to play, and I am not wrong.
“Bartholomew, now remember our agreement, the moment that your homework doesn’t get done in a timely manner, we will begin to do things my way.” grandma said pointing her finger at me. “Yes, grandma mina, I remember our agreement.” I shrugged my shoulders and went into my room. I have been living with my grandmother for over a year now. My father past away some time ago and my mother has been having medical issues. My grandmother thinks I don’t know any better, but I know what my mother’s real problem is. Anyway, I can’t change anything, so I need to make the best of things. I like staying with my grandmother. She doesn’t get angry very often and she likes to talk things out with me. She listens to what I have to say. I changed my clothes and got my skateboard and went out to play with my neighborhood friends. After about an hour, I came in and got washed up. Grandma Mina had my backpack already on the dinner table. She had even sharpened some pencils for me so that I could begin work immediately. I pulled out the instructions I received from Mr. Kendrick about the assignment.
It read, “Students, you are to use reliable sources on the internet, encyclopedias, text books from the library, and any other resources that would be helpful to complete the research on your subject. The assignment is due Friday of next week.” My subject is different kinds of families. I began using Yogali as my research engine. I put in, “Different Types of Families.” I waited a few moments and over one million pieces of information returned. How in the world was I going to look through all this information to find what I needed? I sat there with my head between my hands when Grandmother Mina walked in. “What’s wrong Bartholomew?” I told her about my assignment. “Bartholomew, what if you interviewed me first, then you could maybe get some idea what to look up.” “After all, I am a half a century old and know a lot about life.” I looked at her in amazement. “You are a half a century old!” I said with my hands, once again, on my head. “Why, yes, I am sir, don’t I look fabulous?” “You really do, Grandma Mina.” “Okay, that sounds like a good idea.” I said with enthusiasm. “I’ll get my notebook together and you can tell me what you know.”
Several minutes later Grandma Mina was sitting in front of me with a pleased expression. I think she likes helping me with my homework. “Okay,” I said, “tell me what you know about different kinds of families.” “Do you mean races or how their put together?” “That is a great question, let me read the notes from the teacher.” I skimmed down to the handwritten details on the page. “It sounds like he means how their put together.” “Okay, I think I understand.” “Let’s see, there is the foundational family where there is a married couple consisting of a father and a mother plus children.” she thought again, and added, “then there is the family where there is only one parent, mother or father, plus children.” “Next, I think there is a family type that can be made up of extended family like myself and grandchildren, like you, then there is same sex couple families, where now-a-days kids can have parents of the same sex.” she looked wary when she mentioned this. “this of course was unheard of when I was growing up, but it happens now-a-days.” “Then there are foster families where children are given to people who offer to take care of them when their own families cannot.” “There are also adopted families, where children can become a part of a family other than their family of birth by law.” “As far as I know Bartholomew, both the child and the family have to agree to the adoption.” “As people grow older, they may turn friends into family members and make their own family.” “Textbooks may not mention this, but there is also a church family.” “It sounds unusual I know, but a church family are tied together through their faith and religion.” “these family ties can be just as important as your family of origin.” Grandma Mina sat there with the biggest grin on her face as if she accomplished a 5K marathon. I was completely stunned to learn how much Grandma Mina knew about different types of families. I sighed deeply and spoke. “Grandma Mina, I love you, you are the best of everything.” “I now know where to start with my research.” I think I saw her eyes get watery. She got out of her chair and said with her back turned. “If you have any more questions, I will be in the living room finishing up Wheel-Of-Fortune.” I smiled and said, “Thank you.” I returned to my work feeling a whole lot better than I did earlier about the project and got to work.