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

TITLE: I are four, too!
By larry troxell


“I are four!”

Nana laughed as her granddaughter pranced along the toy aisles. Linda’s face beamed her Julia Roberts smile, her long curls dancing on her tanned shoulders. She wasn’t allowing her 10-year-old brother Jason to command Nana’s complete attention.

Her grandchildren were at Wally World so Jason could redeem a belated birthday gift card. Instead of correcting his sister’s grammar, Jason pointed out Linda was only three; her fourth birthday was two months away.

“I are four and I’m going to have cupcakes with icing and candles,” Linda smiled, pushing her bright yellow shopping cart, but monitoring if Nana were looking at her. Jason rolled his big brother eyes signaling defeat at his sister’s antics.

Nana grinned. “What else are you having at your party?”

“Oatmeal. And spaghetti,” Linda deadpanned. “And I want striped to drink.”

“Oatmeal and striped?” Nana asked, trying to be serious. “What’s striped?”

“A Sprite soft drink,” Jason intervened.

Enjoying every second of their outing after church, Nana treated Linda to a new baby doll and a baby bottle, of course. Jason exchanged his birthday “credit card,” as he described it, for the latest Nashville Predators hockey video.

Nana had been so proud of Jason when he had asked for and received a “grown-up Bible” at Easter, and this morning, she noticed him underline the verses with his little finger as Pastor Ralph read the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. She had sensed her “big boy’s” tender heart was opening to the Good News. Naturally, Linda had to be restrained from dancing to the contemporary Christian music.

Returning to her grandchildren’s home from the toy store, Nana was surprised as Linda quickly fell asleep for an afternoon nap, snuggling her new doll with bottle intact. Jason had dashed down the hall to play his new video game.

“This is how I want my early retirement to be,” Nana said to herself. “My husband can go deep-sea fishing all he wants. And my big brother can spend the millions he earned from the sale of his company to travel the world if he likes. But I’m going to enjoy these precious gifts.”

Nana slipped to the guest room, sensing an overpowering desire to thank God for this retirement blessing.

“Thank you, Lord, for the Army medic turned emergency room physician who didn’t bother to ask if I had a living will when I coded more than three years ago.

“Thank you, Lord, my daughter didn’t intervene when she rushed more than 120 miles to the hospital to discover I was in a medically induced coma, breathing by life support.

“Thank you, Lord, for my husband who steadied me as I learned to walk again. Baby step by baby step. He argued you wanted me to live or the physician would have noticed the Do Not Resuscitate order in my medical file that winter night.

“And please forgive me, Lord, for continually focusing on the accident and all that has happened since. Instead, I want to enjoy my grandchildren.”

Nana wiped her tears, checked her makeup, and returned to the great room. Linda’s nap was short-lived and Jason's video was on pause. The grandchildren had resumed their birthday teasing.

“I are four!” Linda shouted, marching around the coffee table and love seat.

“No, you’re not,” Jason giggled as he chased his little sister.

Laughing, Nana realized she was nearing a four-year celebration of her own, now with a fresh outlook on retirement. She jumped from the sofa and grabbed each of her grandchildren’s hands, joining their march and shouting a proclamation.

“I are four, too!”

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This article has been read 579 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst09/17/09
A new lease on life! Awesome story.
c clemons09/18/09
Good job!
Shilo Goodson09/22/09
This was a great story. Sometimes just being with our family is the best reward for retirement. I also enjoyed reading about her recovery and the miracles associated with that.
Beth LaBuff 09/22/09
This story defines what really is important in life. I love your ending. Linda is adorable and cheers for Jason, being a sensitive older brother! :)
Lisa Johnson09/25/09
As a nurse... on a cancer floor... your story made me look at those DNR orders in a slightly different light.
Allen Stark09/26/09
Larry, beautiful story. Loved the dialogue.