Being old and blessed places you in a position where you’re able to bless someone else. This is a right, an obligation, a privilege and it should be a joy. I often find myself participating in retrospectives, reviewing all the not-so-good, good, and great things that have happened in my life. Anyone who knows me well, is fully aware of the beginnings from which I come. If everyone is born with a spoon in their mouth, I certainly came into this world with one made of tin, surface coated with a bit of rust. However, things are great now, sufficient material resources to traverse retirement years, loving and devoted wife to soothe the rough spots of life and healthy children, with grandkids and one great grandchild to boot.
Just when you think life has set you up to take the easy path, the call to contribute comes knocking at your door. My son, who’s my youngest child, was blessed to be a father for the second time three months ago; he’s also had a bit a rough time economically over the past year. Regular employment has been elusive and he’s been making it by the grace of God. His mom and I have been there to help where we can; however, he wants to support himself and his family on his own. I commend him for that attitude. He just landed two jobs, one at night and another (the better-paying one) during the day. He’s fortunate that both jobs have schedules that will allow him to keep both. Here’s where the call to contribute came to my door. My wife and I talked about it, and we decided to offer our hands at providing child care until my son and his significant other can afford daycare. Although I’m retired, my wife isn’t. She sells health and life insurance. This is a busy time of year for her; it’s open enrollment season for Medicare Advantage plans, meaning she is out of the house every day. This leaves responsibly for the care of my three-month old grandson to mostly me. I must clarify here, keeping him isn’t a daily occurrence.
Taking care of a three-month old wasn’t in the plans for me during retirement. This little tyke is a lot of fun, but him added to the care of a one-year old Shih-Tzu is, at times, is more than a Herculean task for an old codger like me. The dog usually has my attention for most of the times she’s within my line of vision. My grandson being in the house, alters the environment to an extent that my little four-legged charge can’t seem to comprehend. If I’m sitting in my easy chair, trying to give my grandson a bottle, the dog is quick to come with one of her toys. She’s not coming simply to show me a chewed-up, saliva covered trinket, but to solicit my time and energy at playing an exciting game of fetch. When I refuse to reply as usual, she eventually squeezes herself between me and the chair’s arm on the side opposite my grandson. These kinds of shenanigans continue for the entire period I’m caring for my grandson.
Finding a balance of the time available to feed my grandson every two hours or so, change dirty diapers, let the dog out to do her business, and show an appropriate amount of affection to both God-given creatures, is more than a challenge. A challenge, I could handle without breaking a sweat forty years ago. Although physically demanding, this balancing act gives me a sense of satisfaction. I’m tired at the end of a full day, but there’s a warm, comfortable feeling inside. No, this isn’t my idealized version of what a retired grandfather should be doing, but who operates within an idealized version of anything related to this uncontrollable live in which we all live.
I’ve been blessed in more ways than I can count. One of the more valuable realizations in life is to reach the point where you know you’re blessed. That point of realization has even more value when you also understand that you’re blessed so you can bless others. I think babysitting my three-month old grandson, without doubt, fits this bill. One byproduct of this whole experience is that I’m blessed even further with the time I’m spending with this little fellow. Our ages span a huge gap, 66 years to three months. I’ve prayed that I will be around to see him grow for a good number of years; however, I’m a realist, knowing this might not happen. The time is good right now though, and that accounts for a whole lot.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.