Moving into a new era of life can be a bit daunting. You don’t know what to expect, you don’t know how you will manage, you don’t know where to turn. Then somewhere in the back of your mind you realize, that’s all part of the journey, right?
My children now, 8 & 11, are clearly independent and can survive without me feeding them from bottles or changing their diapers. I’ll tell you, it’s a great feeling to see your kids making their own sandwiches and it’s an even better feeling when they remember to put away the PB & J. Of course, no one is perfect, so for now, I’ll be happy with the fact that they’re smiling and their tummies are full.
It’s at this point in our lives that my husband and I realize we can go on dates again-Hallelujah! The icing on the cake though, is we now have the added benefit of not having to pay a babysitter. We’re enjoying our lives so much that my husband lovingly refers to this time in our lives as “The Golden Years”.
With “The Golden Years” in place for some time now, why would his work decide he was going to have to start traveling A LOT??!!! Doesn’t his work know we’re trying to enjoy life? Doesn’t his work know we want to see a movie? When this promotion came about we were excited about the monetary benefits but then reality sunk in. All I could see in my future was “The End of the Golden Years”. I would have to run the kids to all their activities by myself, I’d have to cook dinner every night by myself, not to mention doing the laundry, the dishes and every other chore in the world you could think of. All of this was now up to me. This was one journey I was no longer enjoying. My husband, now gone multiple times throughout the month, will no longer be there to help us get through the daily trials of life. If the children are having a problem, it’s up to me to work through it, wait….wasn’t I doing that before? If there are activities that I need to drive the children to won’t I have to work around that? Wait….wasn’t I doing that before too? Why did I feel like I couldn’t do it? And why did I feel like the “The Golden Years” were over? “The Golden Years” weren’t over, I was just throwing myself a pity party, and I was the only one invited.
I realized part of this journey, we call life, requires turns, detours, some uphills, and some down hills and I was the driver. Where was I going to take this journey? Was I going to go down that same dirt road that looked worn? Or was I going to take a detour this time? I realized then, I wasn’t going to be fun for anyone if I kept wallowing in my sorrows. I decided to turn on my blinkers, make a lane change, and take the detour. I must confess that was the best lane change ever!
As a family we work together, and play together so now it was time to really work together, even if it meant without dad. Dishes were washed, trash bins put out, beds made, we were doing it! We were working as a team and no one felt overworked or that they had to do it by themselves. We were still a team-still a family.
My loving husband, still traveling at this very moment, keeps up our spirits up while he’s gone. I appreciate that fact that he calls us daily, multiple times. I appreciate the fact that he sends e-mails just to say “Hi”. I even appreciate when he calls and asks us how our dinner was, when we’re eating burritos, and he’s eating in a fine dining establishment which requires him to wear a tie.
“The Golden Years” are still here but now I’ve learned to share those “Golden Years” with my children. We celebrate the night before dad gets home by having a movie night. It’s a way to celebrate the fact that we made it through the week together and we did it as a team, a family. We rent a new movie, make popcorn, snuggle up in blankets and laugh out loud with each. I know these movie nights will be something my children and I will always remember and cherish; these memories that hopefully will last a life-time. I feel privileged to know that after I’m long gone, my children will still have fond memories of their mother, and isn’t that what the journey is all about?
QUESTION: When did your Golden Years begin?
CHALLENGE: Finding a way to make “today” part of your Golden Years.