PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Amy and Jose Pires consider themselves to be normal grandparents. But others think they "rock!"
"I started this to reduce my stress about COVID and it's turned into something where I'm making other people happy," said Amy.
The couple's new hobby began during their daily walk through Pennypack Park. Amy discovered a lone rock painted pink with the word, "Shine," painted on top. The small gesture went a long way, as Amy and her husband now have painted and planted dozens of their own rocks.
"Some people have been calling us the rock couple," she said.
Married for nearly 40 years, Amy and Jose are opposite sides of the same coin. Amy is a born-and-bred Philadelphian, whereas Jose became a citizen after emigrating from Lisbon, Portugal.
"It changed my life. I love this place now," said Jose.
Family has always been the center of their lives. But it did not come without struggle.
"We hung up our grandparent towel and thought this was not happening for us," Amy once thought. "And the year after we retired, surprise!"
Now, they are the happy grandparents of 15-month-old Leonardo, who often joins in as their painting partner.
"He is the apple of our eye," Amy said.
Perhaps it is their grandmotherly and grandfatherly instincts that called upon them to become the rock couple.
Among their many designs are hopeful ladybugs, calming seashores, and fairy doors to wedge between the grooves of tree trunks.
Amy and Jose, both tremendous Philadelphia sports fans, hope to keep inspiring their city until the pandemic is over.
"We are loud, but we are also a city that loves each other, we do," Amy said. "And that's the message that we want to put out there. Everybody is loved."