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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: A Dream Bites The Dust
By Marlene Bonney


I had anticipated, daydreamed, hoped, prayed and yearned for this time and it had finally dawned.

Much as I loved the past twenty years of raising our three children, reveling in its joys, blessings and happiness, there were many aspects I would not miss. Like arising by 5 A.M. each week day to make sure our teens were awake and adhering to their bathroom time slots (our older home boasted only one bathroom), lunches packed and kids out the door to designated bus stops on time—this always the most difficult when one of the girls had last minute primping and consequently had to make a 2-minute mad dash to catch the bus— which usually destroyed the primping results. Or, like anxiously waiting up late at night for whichever newly licensed driver was out on a date or an outing. I remember a time not too long ago when our home contained five licensed drivers—sharing one, not-so-dependable, vehicle.

Now that is all in the past, for our children are grown, married, and scattered in different parts of the country. The upstairs bedrooms, once full of girl or boy paraphernalia and unmade twin beds with favorite belongings scattered over every inch of available space, now house double beds and a collection of appropriately-aged toys and books for when the grandchildren visit; albeit, the closets still stuffed with left-behind or stored possessions our children could not take with them for one reason or another. My husband dreams of the day he can turn one of these aforementioned rooms into a tool room, but realistically, I don’t see this happening in our life spans.

The children’s college years gave me the best of both worlds, granting independence and freedom to nurture dormant skills and to pursue long ago, as well as, new interests. Until, much like a boomerang, one or more of the kids would pop back in for their breaks and vacations, weeks of dirty laundry in tow, ready to refill their parents’ lives with their personal challenges, victories, joys and sorrows. We are so thankful that we had been able to provide deep roots for them, grounded in our faith in God, for He had also helped us to give them wings to fly and soar, independently developing and maturing.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were babies? Memories even now flood back over my soul: like ocean waves, some caress the shoreline, representing those calmer times when the children were well and happy and things were flowing smoothly and others crashing and threatening to drown us with sleepless nights and fervent prayers for a feverish brow or agonizing over emotional childhood hurts.

But, I digress.

Now I am officially an “empty-nester”. The coveted full night’s sleep was a pipedream. For the first several months of my “retirement” my memory clock awoke me at 5 A.M. And, since the aging process continues, a trip to the bathroom becomes necessary, getting back to sleep also a myth. After I mastered my internal clock to awaken me at a sane hour, Arthur (Itis) got me up. (I will admit that I have now had the time and freedom to ignite pre-children pursuits. And, every once in a while, my hubby and I go on an adventure--like a walk around the extended neighborhood--and, although not quite as rewarding as my role of mother, these are sufficient!)

That is, until our 7 yr.-old grand-son calls us and begs us to visit him and his younger brother and baby sister—after three months of not seeing them, I am more than ready to comply—and everything centers around preparing for an 800-mile journey. Those visits remain the most precious of our “empty-nest” lives.

The downside is my husband and I, though officially retired, must hold part-time jobs to fund the trips. Go figure!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 09/20/09
I can relate to so much of your story. I could picture this with your descriptions. I'm glad you're at least able to visit your sweet grandchildren. :)
Charla Diehl 09/21/09
It sounds to me like you've been richly blessed. Thanks for sharing.
Lisa Johnson09/24/09
I think it is called sardonic wit, and you use it very well to your advantage. Cute story.