She believed her life was always going to be the fairy tale it was today. Looking around she saw a comfortable home. A nicely furnished home; entirely in her own taste and selected, after years of making do with whatever the budget allowed, with care from a high end furniture store. It was not fancy dancy furniture or accessories; it was instead comfortable, casual and well matched. Each room of her house boasted colors she enjoyed and was almost always clean and tidy. Seldom would you find her house in disarray. Orderly cleanliness made her happy and it was her job to maintain that standard.
Their children had been on their own for many years and each had made homes of their own and had children of their own. It was her greatest pleasure in life to have all of them home for holidays and to watch her grandchildren interact under her watchful and loving eyes. For certain, being a grandmother was the greatest gift she had ever experienced. Seeing those babies grow and learn and knowing they each loved her back was what her life was really about. Nothing would bring a tear more quickly than seeing any one of them smile because they saw her coming toward them.
She and her husband headed into their golden years hand in hand looking forward to traveling to the sun for the winter and back home for the summer with the kids and grand kids. That would be the life they had worked their long hours and years to capture and at long last enjoy. Maybe a travel trailer or maybe a rental or maybe moving to the sun, but it looked like the home would be sold and something new would be coming.
The thing about beginnings is that you never know where they are going to take you.
The first change to their plans, the first of many, came with a new responsibility in her life. When a parent becomes somewhat dependent on you, you have to make a choice. Yes, it is a choice. She had to decide whether she wanted to be the rock for her mother or perhaps share that with a sibling or perhaps hire someone to do the few things her mother needed help doing. Maybe a cleaning service for seasonal cleaning, a grocery service and a driver for appointments would take the burden off and she could then just visit at her leisure and travel as they had planned could proceed. She could also choose to be the one. She chose to be the one. The sharing with siblings was not practical. Each of her siblings had an in-law to be responsible for and she had only her mother. She enjoyed being with her mother and she enjoyed helping her with errands and the cleaning that was too much. It wasn’t a job and she never felt obligated, instead she felt honored and appreciated. Her mother was her priority and she loved being with her. The choice was clear from day one and no one looked back. Traveling would be on the back burner; her mother didn’t want to travel.
The next beginning was the shifting of the holidays. The holidays she loved were over. As the grandchildren got older their parents, one by one, decided they preferred to keep the kids home for Christmas. Grandparents were invited over to each place, but no more big family holiday dinner and gift exchange. Just a lot of little Christmases now. It wasn’t really Christmas for her anymore. The whole season became run here and run there and as they were aging and toting her mother, it became less enjoyable each year. She would find another way to celebrate Christmas soon. Maybe traveling or maybe just having a family Christmas another day, the traveling Christmas 2 day marathon was not good for them and did not speak of holiday cheer. This beginning was not a good thing and she and her husband talked a great deal about alternatives and no decision had been made, but many thoughts were shared. The bottom line, they loved their family and they loved each other, so like all things, a solution was emanate, just not yet secured.
Another beginning. He faces his last day of work after 57 years of employment. He has designated December as his retirement month. She had done the same just a few years ago. This beginning has no down side, except they would be spending a LOT more time together during the winter months. He has no hobbies and all of her hobbies are one person activities. Keeping him busy and not under her feet would be a challenge. Knowing that he is fundamentally happier will be the salve.
Beginnings always have unknowns. Beginnings are always one part scary and one part exciting. The last 30+ years have had many beginnings for this couple and all in all, they have turned out quite well. Perhaps it’s because this couple is determined to be happy people within a happy marriage within a happy family. Perhaps they simply chose happy over all the other options life has given.
Wishing each of you a life of beginnings with new and exciting choices.