Grandma's Secret Moves

Storytelling and NarrativeFeatures

In this ongoing collaborative series, young writers around the world revisit stories important to their childhoods. Like many of the tales that shape our lives, these pieces flow into each other, creating a narrative that links contributors across continents and cultures. You can read the previous stories here, here, here, and here. Remember to come back to KidSpirit for the next installment, and don’t miss the accompanying videos that bring these young voices to life.

A plan was the last thing on her mind.

My grandma, after completing middle school, was trapped in a dilemma. Civil wars were frequent at that time, leading to economic underdevelopment and poor living conditions. As the eldest daughter in her family, my grandma was destined to support her siblings through school. Uncertain about what to do at the moment, she went straight back home. Like many courageous young women, she hoped to join the work force and serve the country’s well being, which would also bring revenue to the family.

How would Grandma find a proper job, when everything was full of uncertainty, and the gap between life and death was never narrower? She roamed the streets, catching every last bit of news. One day, an advertisement for a free nursing school was put up, and she suddenly saw hope, like bubbles floating through the sky. She signed up immediately.

Her parents found out about her enrollment weeks later, but what could they do when their eldest daughter was just trying to shoulder some of the heavy economic burden? They encouraged her to be a loyal and patient nurse, and she did become a responsible caregiver. Grandma calmed down wounded soldiers and frightened children with all her attention and love. She treated them like her own siblings, but she was too busy to go back home from work. She poured all her efforts into her career as a nurse and later as a doctor, and won praise around the community.

However, like many successful women, she wasn’t skillful at balancing career and family. She was so busy that her three children grew up almost by themselves. My mom and uncles regarded the hospital as their second home, joining in a gang of doctors’ children after school when grandma was with her patients. With both sadness and understanding, my mom remembers my uncles taking care of her more often than grandma did. How everyone wished they had been together as a family all the time!

Watch Xinru read her story in this KidSpirit Shorts video!

Xinru Yin is a senior at the High School Attached to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. She enjoys the company of nature as well as well-woven thoughts of the most prominent humans.