Beyond Books: Matt’s Nightly Reading Date with Grammy

COVID-19 turned our world upside down, forcing us to rethink and redo our days, homes, workplaces—and all the spaces in between.

Matt’s maternal grandmother, Grammy Patti, could no longer volunteer as a reader to second and third graders. Matt’s SMILE Biscotti business took a big dip and his repertoire of activities was reduced. What happened next was a blessing as this special duo discovered a whole new dimension to their relationship that continues to this day.

Every night at 8 p.m. sharp, Matt FaceTimes with Grammy from his First Place–Phoenix apartment to read a few chapters together from books she chooses based on his interests. She always purchases two—one for him, one for her. Once completed, they often gift their books to others.

Matt has read more chapter books these past few years than he has in his entire life (he turns 32 this summer). While we still can’t be sure just how much he understands beyond his reciting the words, he obviously finds unfettered joy in his nightly reading dates with Grammy. He also gets to select who reads first. Troubleshooting is also part of the process. Instead of Matt abruptly hanging up after concluding a chapter, they now count “1, 2, 3!” together and blow kisses before ending the call.

Grammy takes her responsibility and commitment seriously, knowing how much Matt counts on her—and how much this treasured time with her beloved grandson means to her, too. She’s taken Matt’s FaceTime call from the quiet corner of a theater lobby, the passenger seat of a car—and even in the ladies’ room! Our entire family has been deeply touched by this endearing ritual. What’s good for Matt and Grammy is good for us all!

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