Retirement Fantasy

Once upon a time, while I was still working, my husband and I were fantasizing about retirement.

“So, what do you want to do lov? Where do you want to live? What do you want to see? What’s on your bucket list?”

I was suspicious.

“Why do you want to know?” I asked.

“Good grief….I’m just making conversation.”

I assessed the situation. And thought a bit.

“I want to be a grandmother.” I declared.

“Umm….lov…that’s not exactly under our control…”

“No, I don’t mean that. I mean, that if we are grandparents, I want to be active grandparents.”

“What do you mean by that?” he asked suspiciously. “You mean you want to babysit all the time? You don’t want to travel?”

“Well…not all the time.” I quickly qualified. “I mean, I want to be like my grandmother. I was always down there. And then she babysat for our kids. She was a real grandmother.”

“Umm love…” my husband commented gently. “You don’t actually like children.”

“I liked my own!”

“But grandchildren aren’t your own.”

“My mother said it was like your own. She didn’t like kids but she said grandchildren were different.”

“She didn’t babysit either. She went South every winter.”

“She had our kids up to the camp in New Hampshire every summer.”

“Yeah. And she always took your grandmother up to babysit! Then she went out golfing!”

“You’re just imagining things.” I replied. “Why are you choking like that?”

“You know lov…;” he replied, after he got himself together. “You’re not your grandmother. Just because you loved her doesn’t mean that you are anything like her.”

“I can just imagine…” he continued. “We’ll become grandparents, you’ll generously offer to babysit, and then, you’ll go back to work and leave me at home changing diapers.”

“Lov…” I assured him. “of all the things you can count on, you can count on this. Once I retire, I ain’t ever, ever, going back.”

It’s funny the things you remember.

Yesterday, my grandson said his first word. Well, sort of his first word, at least from this grandmothers’ perspective. He correctly made the sign for “more.” When I had kids, I did not try to teach them sign language. But my daughter is an early intervention specialist, and she says all kids, and all parents, and all grandparents, need to learn some rudimentary sign language. Kids can sign at an earlier age, she instructs us, it helps them to “get” the idea of communicating, and hopefully helps lessen the frustration of having no way to tell anyone what’s bothering them.

This seems like a good idea. I mean, all except the whole part about grandparents also learning sign language.

But yesterday, it all came together. My husband had been babysitting, but he had an emergency computer disaster call from a client.

“It’s OK.” he assured me, while handing me the baby, “Greg will be over in about 15 minutes.”

I was very, very relieved when Greg arrived in about 15 seconds, and sat down to feed his son.

“More?” he asked Abel, making the ‘more’ sign. “More super-delicious blender beef stew? More?”

And Abel made the sign.

I sat up.

“More!” I sang out. “More! More!” making the more sign. (Also correctly, thank you.)

Abel made the more sign. I got all excited and made the sign back. Abel made the sign. I made the sign. This went on for quite some time.

It was really a lot of fun. My son starting singing the pie song from Sweeny Todd.

“More pies! More pies! More pies!”

I joined in, even though one of the things I never, ever, ever do is sing in public. And, the next day, I told everyone at work about it. Repeatedly. (I mean, other than the singing in public part.)

Maybe you had to be there, but I bet a lot of young parents and older grandparents know exactly what I am talking about.

Afterwards, I was thinking about the rest of that long-ago conversation with my husband.

“The thing about being involved with kids….” I mused. “Is that it isn’t like anything else. I mean, I always thought I wanted an adventurous life. I wanted to…like…be a foreign correspondent and cover wars and stuff. But when I had kids, I realized that ordinary life might be the best adventure. Nothing was, or ever has been, quite as fascinating as watching kids develop day by day. Anyone can travel. Anyone can move to a warm climate. But that moment, that moment when, by watching a kid, you become a kid again…that’s magic…you can’t get it anywhere else.. ”

“Umm….Duh?” my husband replied.

Our God, I think, is an ironic God. Because now my husband is living ‘my’ retirement fantasy. And I’m just fine with it. Just as long as he is along to babysit.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.