Is there an adult who hasn't dreamed of life in retirement? I would guess that such dreams revolve around freedom--freedom to do and be what ever way the wind blows on any given day. My revelries were of no alarm clocks, travel by the whim, minimal accountability, freedom to "be" me. Certainly the dreams did not include PTA meetings, Little League snack stands, parent conferences, children's pool parties or, most of all, parenting.
But, life, if any thing, is unpredictable. We never, ever know what lies around the corner of tomorrow--unexpected joys? undeserved trials? unexplained sorrows? unanticipated pleasures? Clearly God plans our lives and we experience its unfolding. Certainly understanding His way falls outside our limits of understandings.
So, Ken and I wonder why around our corner we found a blessing, an unexpected joy, an unanticipated pleasure. Why did God smile on us?
We retired several years earlier than we needed to, wanting to indulge our passion to travel as much of the world as we could--before our bodies would begin to fail us. Being aware of how often people wait to retire only to have tragedy strike, we hoped to beat that outcome. And...we took this goal by storm.
We treasure experiencing other cultures, having brief glimpses of life beyond the comforts of the United States and Western Europe. In our wander lust over the years, we have seen amazing sights--Cappadocia in Turkey, the Himalayas in Tibet, the pyramids of mysterious Mayan and Aztec cultures, the vestiges of Communism in Central Europe, the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie, small mountain villages of Greece and, of course, the "normal" places in much of Europe. All of this accompanied by sharing life with people along the way--people different from us and yet, really, much the same. But, there remained so much more of God's world to see and marvel at and wonder how, why, when?
And so, in our first year of retirement, we gorged ourselves on this obsession, going to five continents in less that twelve months--North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It was a wonderful year. God took care of us and let us live our dream on His timeline. He knew that around the corner of that year, He had something even grander planned for us--an unexpected journey--one we would not have chosen. But he gave us that year to indulge our wanderlust.
Then, He pulled us out of retirement--so to speak. He had a job for us to do and trusted us to do it well. He gave us Casey--our grandson who needed his grandparents to love him, raise him and tell him he is the most special boy that ever was. He needed us to start parenting all over again--hopefully with the wisdom of years and lessons learned. So--we are now on the journey into the soul of a child with all the laughter, tears, joys and hurts that reside there.
Now we do go to those parent conferences with teachers--even in Italy where we needed a translator, have pool parties where our "peer" group is the age of our children, sit through Little League games which we were so glad to put behind us years ago, listen to children, against all our rules, bouncing on the beds upstairs, wonder why taking showers is a form of punishment and try to avoid those sleep-overs which mean no-sleep.
We teach him right and wrong, kindness, respect, loving his God, how to pray, what being a friend means, why he must learn, that life is more than having fun--all those things we wish we had found more time for the first time around. We delight in his laughter and his smile. His kisses and hugs and "I love you, Grandma" in the middle of the grocery store aisle give a meaning beyond compare to these retirement years.
This has become the best corner of all. Now--God must continue what He has begun and give us a life long enough to raise this joy into manhood. I think He will.
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.