Dorothy Perkins had a rough year when she was 49. First, she lost her husband to cancer. Then, just six months later, her son and his wife died in a car crash while getting their kid from school.
Now, it was just Dorothy and little Jimmy.
Even when life hits hard, family keeps us going.
Jimmy was this bright and sweet kid. He was young and, of course, he missed his parents a lot, but kids bounce back. Life keeps moving, and that’s what Dorothy and Jimmy did. They faced the next day, together.
Jimmy was shooting up like a beanstalk! Before you knew it, he was hitting ten, then twelve, and bam, fifteen. But through all those growth spurts, his love for “Granma Dolly” (that’s what he called Dorothy) never wavered.
He was turning out to be quite the young man. Top of his class and a star on the field, he was shaping up to be someone his parents would’ve bragged about.
Then came the college acceptance letters. Granma Dolly’s heart sank as she flipped through the brochures. Even with his sports scholarship, Yale was going to be pricey!
But Dolly was set on Jimmy getting the best. No way was she letting him drown in student debt. So, she dug deep, pulling from her savings, her pension, and even taking out a bank loan.
Fast forward a few years, and Jimmy was walking the stage with honors. But while he was starting his dream job as a hotshot lawyer, Dorothy was tightening her belt. Her pals were jet-setting and cruising the globe, but Dolly was pinching pennies.
Yet, she wouldn’t change a thing. Her “boy” (well, not so much a boy now at 29) was thriving, and their Sunday dinners were sacred.
But just before her 75th birthday, reality hit. Dorothy couldn’t keep up with her loan payments. Bankruptcy was looming, and she might lose her home.
Dorothy kept her financial troubles a secret from Jimmy. She didn’t want him to bear the weight of knowing the price she paid for his education. She planned one final bash at the house filled with memories of her husband and son. She invited Jimmy and his girlfriend, Rita, for a birthday feast.
But when Jimmy showed up solo with a bunch of roses, Dolly was taken aback. “Where’s Rita?” she asked, genuinely fond of the girl.
Jimmy just gave a resigned shrug. “We split,” he admitted.
“But you two seemed so smitten just a fortnight ago!” Dolly blurted out.
“She thinks I’m stingy,” Jimmy said, looking down. “She wanted fancy dates, and I… Anyway, it’s done.”
Dolly pulled him into a comforting embrace. “I’m so sorry, love.” She then ushered him to the dining table, laden with all his comfort foods and a massive red velvet cake.
Jimmy laughed, “Gran, it’s your day, not mine!”
Dolly winked, “Spoiling you is my treat!” and served him a generous helping of roast potatoes.
As they were digging into dessert, Jimmy’s phone buzzed. It was his buddy, Mark. “Hey, Jim! How about a fishing trip in Mexico in two months?”
Jimmy hesitated, not even glancing at his planner. “Ah, I’ve got a conference in London then. Rain check?”
After the call, Dolly raised an eyebrow, “Why fib to Mark?”
“Fishing’s not my jam, Gran,” Jimmy chuckled, swiftly changing the topic to a hilarious work anecdote. They had a heartwarming evening, but the next morning, reality awaited Dorothy.
She headed to the bank and requested a meeting with the manager. “Mr. Durrel,” she began, trying to keep her voice steady, “I can’t make my loan payments this month. I’m tapped out.”
Mr. Durrel pulled up her account details, his eyebrows knitting together in confusion. “Mrs. Perkins, there seems to be a mix-up,” he said.
“Your loans? They were settled in full yesterday. And now, your account balance is a whopping $110,000!”
Dorothy’s jaw dropped. “But I was in debt for over $200,000…”
“You were,” Mr. Durrel confirmed. “But not anymore.”
The pieces clicked into place for Dorothy. Jimmy. He was the one behind this. That’s why his girlfriend had called him tight-fisted. That’s why he passed on the Mexico trip with his buddies. He’d been squirreling away money to pay off her debt and reimburse her for his college fees.
She rushed to Jimmy’s workplace, her heart pounding. Seeing her, Jimmy’s face filled with concern. “What’s up, Grandma Dolly? Everything alright?”
Dorothy, tears streaming, managed to say, “You… you didn’t have to do that for me.”
Wrapping her in a warm embrace, Jimmy replied, “It’s no sacrifice, Gran. Just returning the favor. You always put me first. Now it was my turn.”