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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: This is Fun
By Mary McLeary


This is Fun

My husband and I have always enjoyed life. Our jobs made it easy to work fun into our schedules. This was a goal we continued to aim for even after the kids arrived. Summers meant swimming and traveling and during football season there were away games with the wives and children of other coaches on staff, and at the end of the season there would often be a bowl game. As the kids grew, they invited their friends to join the fun. Eventually they married and moved away, but we still kept a pretty brisk pace and made frequent visits to their homes.

The nest became empty, but there were enough challenges to keep us busy. We built a new house, started new jobs and Dan decided to go into politics. Having spent most of his life in high pressure situations, this step did not seem strange to him. It horrified me, but I too like a challenge so we hopped right in. We became friends with a wonderful lady named Olivia who introduced us to the art of fundraising.

A statuesque blonde with killer dimples, Olivia brought years of networking to the campaign. Her contacts ranged from a beautiful diva in New York City who volunteered to perform at an event, to a talented artist who helped create a back drop for a knock out gala featuring antique cars and an Elvis impersonator. Thanks to Olivia’s efforts, we didn’t have to hock the farm for this foray into the unknown. Our oldest daughter brought the two grand babies back for photo ops and got to see how the people choose their public servants. Dan was honored to be elected and approached this new experience determined to do his best for those who elected him.

When Dan was sworn into the senate our mothers, sisters and brothers were all in the chamber. In January he cast his first vote and in March our daughters and their families were welcomed to the Senate chamber. After meeting the members of the senate our son-in-law said, “These seem like good people trying to make hard decisions.” Over all, that was a good assessment.

During this time, our nest filled up again when one daughter’s husband was transferred to our area. They lived with us until they could sell their house and buy one here. We loved it when they came and we loved it when they got their own house near by. As my granddaddy said when his grandkids came, “It was good to see the headlights and it was good to see the taillights.”

Now, there’s retirement. I know we’ve “aged up” but I don’t think we’re old. We meander through each day instead of sprint. The calendar is full but nothing is done in a rush to some place else. The fun is slower. We have a second cup of coffee over a longer devotional. The days flow, and we get to spend more time with our grandchildren. Our future shines back at us through their eyes.

They love to take turns sleeping over. As a bedtime ritual, we reach back and embellish a memory before they fall asleep.

They want to know, “Was that a real story or did you make it up”?

“Mostly real,” I say, “with a little icing added.”

Looking back, I realize we’ve had a mostly real life with a little icing added. The icing was often what kept us going. So I embellish a few more stories inserting a moral now and then. I answer their questions about almost anything and feed them what ever they want, which is mostly chocolate. And I say to their Papa, “Now this is fun!”

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This article has been read 395 times
Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons09/17/09
Really enjoyed this one, had a nice ebb and flow. Good job.
Dee Yoder 09/21/09
Love this:

"The days flow, and we get to spend more time with our grandchildren. Our future shines back at us through their eyes."

I can't wait to have that expereince myself! But I'll have a few more years before I get to have this kind of fun...enjoyed reading your version of what is ahead as a grandparent!

Charla Diehl 09/24/09
Mary, congratulations on your placement with this story. Your MC sounded so genuine and had wise words to share.
Lisa Johnson09/25/09
I liked the comfortable, easy feel of this entry...the idea of still having things to do , but at a much slower pace. Congratulations on your Highly Commended placement.