Honorary granddaughter Keenor hugging and smiling with elderly kincare couple Merle and Rick

Merle and Rick get an honorary granddaughter

by KinCare — 21 June 2021

KinCare Customers, Merle and Rick, first met Keenor when she was just two years old. The couple befriended Keenor’s family, who had come to Australia from Ghana, and were soon helping out by picking Keenor up from daycare when her parents were busy at work.

It was a year later that Merle and Rick decided to take their special relationship to the next level. Keenor’s day care centre was celebrating Grandparents Day. The then three-year-old was the only child without a grandparent to come and visit her. Sadly, her biological grandparents had passed away back in Ghana. So Keenor’s mum, Josephine, asked if Merle and Rick wouldn’t mind going instead. Merle says they were honoured to be asked.

“We didn’t hesitate, but we also suggested that if we did this, we’d like to do it properly and actually make Keenor our honorary granddaughter.”

That was more than 10 years ago now and the trio still share an unbreakable bond. Keenor visits Merle and Rick once a week during school terms, and more often in holiday times. Over the years the three have enjoyed lots of picnics and trips to the cinema together, often joined by the couple’s other grandchildren. Merle taught Keenor how to knit, and a shared love of books has also seen them read everything from Winnie the Pooh to Harry Potter together. When Keenor took up the saxophone recently, Merle decided to join her and learn the instrument as well. She says her and Rick’s relationship with Keenor means the world to them.

“She teaches me as much as I teach her and it definitely keeps us young to have her in our lives.”

Merle and Rick were particularly thankful for their connection with Keenor last Christmas, when COVID-19 restrictions prevented them from seeing their other grandchildren. It was sad news for these doting grandparents, who hadn’t seen their family for a year. But, as Merle explains, a visit from Keenor gave them something to smile about when they needed it most.

“That day Keenor came and gave us a letter with her present that made us realise how blessed we are to also have our honorary granddaughter in our lives. It ended with the lines, ‘you have given me so much and I’m truly grateful for it. This is now my time to give back to you in this season of giving.’

“The letter brought tears to our eyes and it took our minds off being sad about what couldn’t happen and made us focus on what could. She really has surrounded us with love.”