Strings and Retirement

There’s something about retirement age.  I’m not sure what it is.  There is this string that suddenly appears inside of us that seems to be attached like a magnet to bedding.  Or maybe it’s attached to the mattress on a bed.  Whatever it is, when you get near a bed the string from inside you connects with the string on the bed and reels you in.  It doesn’t hold you so tightly you can’t get up but it does give off some kind of hormone – probably not endorphins – but whatever the hormone, it lulls you into a sense of complacency that allows you to just lay there on your own personal sandy beach at peace with the world.

That is if you’re  most retirees.   Then there are those of us who are raising the grandkids and maybe  raising a few other kids as well.  The strings are still there.  The hormones are still trying to be released but the silence from the children in the playroom is deafening!  Other retirees hear the silence as the gentle lapping of waves on the beach.  We hear the silence as a call to arms.  And like dutiful soldiers, we snap to attention.  Some days my little ones try to lull me into a sense of security by silently reading books and playing with toys.  But most days I find the Little Guy perched on the counter surrounded by the cereal he has dumped onto his lap and spread everywhere within reach.  Nature Boy is in the basement trying to figure out how to turn on Grandpa’s power tools and the Princess has disappeared down the street with her friends.  Sigh.  Oh, to be able to enjoy the fruits of old age and lay peacefully on my bed!!!!

The rest of you who are raising grandkids know exactly what I’m saying.  Personally, though, I’ve heard enough about how tough it is to be a do-it-again parent.  I’m not complaining!  You want to know why?  Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.  While I’m cleaning up the cereal, Little Guy has retreated to the playroom where I can hear him singing “I love you.  You love me”.  He has a beautiful voice for an autistic four-year-old who can’t carry on a conversation or even tell us his name.  I love hearing that voice!!!

While I am retrieving Nature Boy from the basement, I am realizing how important it is for him to be just like Grandpa.  Grandpa is the most important person in his life.  Nature Boy can’t tell us that.  He is only just now beginning to speak in three word sentences (and those don’t always make sense).  But he can show us by his devotion to everything Grandpa.  When we return from a half hour trip to the grocery store, he runs to greet us like we’ve been gone a month.  I would never want my life to be without those ‘welcome home’ hugs and kisses.

Then, there is our Princess.  Pre-teen years are a challenge for Grandpa and I.  We may never get her to tell us where she is going and when she will be back.  Somehow she doesn’t get the safety issues there.  She argues and complains about how old fashioned and strict we are but every night before bed, she calls “I love you” as she snuggles down to sleep.

We aren’t living the normal retirement life traveling in motor homes and meeting new people. We don’t really need to.  We know all the people who really matter.  Life is good!  Even when we have to stay far away from the beds so the string can’t reel us in.

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