Retirement

Feb. 28

I am learning – or I should say relearning – a lot of things. Like how to prepare supper with a baby sitting on one hip.(BTW, grating cheese is virtually impossible to do one-handed!)  Like how to keep a toddler occupied while making a bed, vacuuming the floor, trying to engage in a phone conversation. Even though I haven’t used these skills in 24 years, they are coming back to me. Survival-mode kicks in I guess.

I am reminded how youngsters love playing with pots and pans, boxes, and brooms far more than any store-bought toy. How peek-a-boo is the most fun a toddler can imagine. How they soak up experiences like a sponge.

And I am savouring the sweet joy of holding a baby as she nods off to sleep, her milky breath on my neck, her soft cheek against mine.

These are the good things.

The uncertainty of our futures and the worry about my stamina are not so good things. How can I keep up this demanding, taxing, amazing job?

How can I not?

Feb. 25

Things don’t always work out as planned. When I retired after 33 years of teaching, I envisioned my life being full with travel, writing, gardening, riding horses, some charity work. My own personal Eden.

Life isn’t like that though. The Fates have stepped in and said, “You aren’t finished with your life’s tasks yet.”

This started less than a year after I retired. My dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and although the initial prognosis was good, things went badly. He and my mom needed a great deal of support and I was very happy to have the time to provide them with it. Dad passed away in Sept. 2013.

Coincidentially (and really, I have come to believe there are no real coincidences!) my daughter became pregnant at about that time.

I found myslef rammed into the “Squeeze” – being support for both my mom and my daughter.

Long story short, my granddaughter was born in April, 2014 and she is healthy and a delight. Unfortunately, her home situation was far from ideal, and now my husband and I are the primary care-givers of a toddler.

This we do with love and gratitude, but going from empty-nesters to full-time parenting has its challenges. We are into diapers, teething, bottles and baby-proofing the house. We laughingly call our daily scheduling “tag team baby care.” We pass our granddaughter back and forth between us as we try to cope with chores, errands and community commitments.

It is indeed a learning experience.

Has anyone else found themselves in this situation? How do you cope?