Retirement makes deep connections possible


My husband Mike took an early retirement at age 55 about six years ago.  He was unsure what his retirement would look like but what it has become is richer than I am sure he has yet to realize.

We have been taking care of our youngest grandson, Gavin now for about 14 or 15 months at least 3 days a week.  It’s been hard but the joys far out-weigh the difficulties.  The cool thing is the effect Gavin is having on Mike.

When we were raising our children and even before that during his first marriage, he worked long, hard hours in a brewery.  He was forced to work overtime.  Sometimes he would work seven days a week up to ten hours a day.  He did it because he had a huge family to support and he was a strong hard workingman doing what he did best being a stalwart provider for his family.  Even after our kids were grown and started families of their own, Mike was still working those crazy hours.  When he came home from a hard day at work, he wanted to eat and chill out by the TV.  There was little time for being with kids.

Our family did benefit from his hard work but at a cost to him.  What he missed out on was the joys and little pleasure that are part of watching children play, grow, learn, explore and discover themselves and their world.  Now the older grandchildren are teenagers giving different joys and pleasures but not quite the day-to-day that is involved with watching a little one.  But with little Gavin’s arrival into our lives Mike gets another chance to discover the joy of interacting with a baby.  Mike and Gavin spend many hours playing on the floor laughing.

The other day Gavin was over and it was snowing a soft, lightly falling snow.  The accumulation was only about a couple of inches but while it was snowing it was winter wonderland.

We were all in the living room hanging out, Gavin, Mike and I.  Toys were spread out with the TV playing PBS Kids in the background.  Mike stood up, “I’m going to get the mail.”

Gavin sat in the middle of the living room floor watching Mike put on his favorite Miller Brewery coat.  The one he wears when is if off to do a job.  “Why don’t you take him with you.  I can bundle him up.  He likes the snow falling on his eye lashes.”  Mike thought for a minute.

“Ok,” He said.  I put on Gavin’s winter coat, hat and mittens.  The mail is just across the street but it was a big production getting Gavin ready.

Mike hoisted him up and they both turned to me Gavin smiling and waving goodbye.  He does loves to be going somewhere.  I waved enthusiastically, blowing kisses saying, “Bye, Bye.  I love you”.

Suddenly, I ran and got the camera rushing outside to capture the moment.  The delight on Gavin’s face is undeniable as is Mike’s.  They say that the way to bring life back to an aging older dog is to introduce a new puppy.  Well, Gavin is Mike’s life enhancing puppy.

Retirement for Mike is bringing joy from some surprising, unexpected places, enhancing his life.  In addition to his bond with Gavin, he is also making deeper connections with his kids than ever before.  One of the secrets to living a long, healthy, life is meaningful personal connections.  Time has opened up for Mike to develop these types of connections and all who come in contact with him benefit as well.

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4 responses to “Retirement makes deep connections possible

  1. That may become an everyday occurence now taking Gavin out to get the mail. Those 2 young men will have fun..

  2. Yes, it will be like on Blue’s Clues and Mail Time!!!

  3. Hello again,

    Reading your posts always begins a journey in my mind and heart.
    This time, I wondered about why we wait until a certain time such as retirement time, or vacation time to open up to connections – meaningful connections that stir the heart and soul. Why not all the time? In how I am in my daily life – being awake and aware; taking the time; noticing what I might not notice if I am going to fast – in a hurry that really doesn’t matter ’cause I get to where I am going anyhow.
    The other day I opened the blinds on my kitchen window and there were three deer waiting. They knew the corn was coming. I got the corn, went out talking to them all the way to the log where we put the corn. They stayed, looked at me oddly as I kept chatting with them. I placed the corn on the log and turned around and went inside. No matter that my shoes and socks were soaking wet from the snow. What really mattered was that moment that might not be there if I wait until.
    Until it is too late.

    Love the pictures of Gavin and Mike! Thanks Janice

    • Absolutely Cathy. I think that is what Mike’s little story here is teaching, to find a way to make time but then if you didn’t it is never to late to start. Bittersweet. Thanks for reading and responding.

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