I must have been six when I met Gee—a shortened version for her name Guinevere. A friend of my mother’s mother, she had a two-day flight layover on her way from her native France back to her home in Molokai, Hawaii. After retrieving her from the airport, mom planned a full itinerary of outings to show her our mountains, forests, and seas.
This meant being sandwiched between Gee and my sister in the backseat for miles of car touring. I was at that fidgety stage when I frequently asked, “How long until we get there?”
Gee, who had been my grandmother’s college roommate, seemed to have an interest in everything she saw. Even in a little girl who couldn’t sit still.
She taught me finger games, and we created imaginative stories from the random things we could see from the back seat.
When my fidgeting became grouchiness towards my sister. Gee gently remarked, “You didn’t get to choose being in the car, but you can choose to be kind.” I looked into her eyes, and it wasn’t a scolding look I saw, but a softness that helped me more than sharp words ever could.
My aunt once said that Gee had a heart of love that she gave away one day at a time. I only met her once, but when that long day finally ended, it was her kindness that I remembered the most.
I’ve learned over time that hard days always end, but kindness lasts forever.
photo above by Andrew Thornebrooke/Unsplash