Mary E. Henderson
OK, I’m going to keep this light. We raised kids. We raised dogs. We raised cats. We worked. We bought a house. Our kids grew up, our pets got old and died, we finished paying for the house and we retired. During that time we got older, heavier, and wiser.
We have our things; our precious treasures collected over the years. We can pack them away for safe keeping when the grandkids come. We can bring them out on a rainy day and look at them when we want to remember how good things used to be.
We can pull out old pictures and laugh or cry. We can remember. We can live in the past. We can sit in our favorite chairs, in our clean, new house. Our clean, new, sterile house surrounded by our things. “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Is this all there is? Is this how it is going to be? Endless television, time to read every article in our favorite magazines, early bird specials at our favorite restaurant, crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Is this what we were looking forward to in retirement? No! No more schedules, no more pressures, a whole new chapter in our lives is just beginning. All we have to do is reach out and grasp it!
Envelop your grandkids in love, leave their fingerprints on the windows, bake chocolate chip cookies and have sleepovers. (Remember to buy extra chocolate chips for snacking on.) Draw silly pictures for them and make up stories, play Old Maid and Monopoly. Do all the things you wish you had done with your own kids when they were little but didn’t have time.
Take them on nature walks, try to count the legs on a caterpillar or the spots on a ladybug. Try to answer their questions. “Why AREN’T there manbugs?” “Is a spider really a baby octopus?” “Did God have a wife?” “OK, if those are cat tails, where are the cats?”
Take your camera with you and capture the outdoor beauties you never took time to stop and really enjoy. Do you remember the old saying, “Take time to smell the roses?” Heck, now if you wish, you have time to smell dandelions or look for a four leaf clover.
And yes, get a new puppy or if you feel adventurous, get two. Holly and Lacy have put a big damper on our freedom. Our travels have to be more carefully planned. Our carpets get shampooed often, the leg of our end table looks like bird’s eye maple, our area carpets have fringe where they didn’t have fringe before. There are nose prints on the patio doors about six inches above the floor. We have to tie and retie our shoes. Once again, there are toys all over the house. We are often outside at 4:30am to answer the call of nature.
Do you know how still the night is and how brilliant the stars are at that time? Can you picture the doe and fawn sleeping under our apple tree? The moon with its translucent rings of light? Can you smell the crispness of fall permeating the air? Can you hear the night sounds and the small animals rustling around…the loon’s mournful sound drifting across the lake?
Shivering in my bathrobe, I watch our delightful little bundles of energy bounce around catching moths and grasping life. I realize…life is not ending, it is just beginning…slobbery kisses and all. Grasp it!