Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some children have no mercy...

My dad is a planner. And long ago, my dad decided he was going to retire at 62.5. In fact, he probably decided that he was going to retire at 62.5 the day he started working. And hey, one of the dude's earlier jobs was at an ice house (yes! they really existed), so having the knowledge that he would someday retire was probably very comforting. I have this image of him chipping away at blocks of ice, thinking of retiring - to someplace warm, no doubt. He'd enjoy some golf, travel a bit, you know - something very different from physical labor. (If you've started feeling bad for the man chipping away at blocks of ice so others could sip tea, don't. He went to lots of school and eventually landed a desk job where he sat ensconced in flourescent lighting many of his days.)

Growing up, my sister was tagged early on as being like my father. Primarily, because she is a planner herself. I believe it was in second grade that she requested my parents buy her a piano and put her in lessons because she was going to be a piano teacher. It surprises no one that knows her that she is, indeed, a piano teacher today.

My role in the family? I was tagged as the flibberty-gibbet. Into one thing on Monday and another on Tuesday. Who knew what I would one day end up doing, but all were hopeful that it would involve a regular paycheck, though not always confident. But I am here to announce that they were wrong. I am, in fact, a planner. How else to explain the fact that I waited - waited patiently, in fact - to have children? Waited so long, I might add, that my parents are both retired. And every one of my friends with small children knows what that means. I have babysitters! Perhaps not babysitters that can come on short notice, but babysitters that can cover long stretches of time when other care is not available. Babysitters who are willing to take my kids almost anywhere in the metro area. Babysitters who are willing to meet me on vacation (Utah, Colorado, and Illinois - so far!).

And so it happens that my dad spends only a portion of his time in retirement playing golf and traveling. But for a few weeks each year? My children run him ragged. And though he might question his decision to retire, I am ever so grateful that he was able to come out at the end of August while my au pair was on vacation - and because I never want him to have a chance to really get used to "the easy life", he's on call for another week in the middle of October while I await the arrival of my next au pair. I asked Helen what she thought of the whole deal and as you can see, she thinks it's marvelous.

Get your rest now, Dad, because they've only gotten faster and smarter since you saw them last!

Elaine - your daughter who bought into the idea that it's important for people to stay active, even in their retirement.

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