In retirement, I find I am rediscovering myself and revisiting the lovely feelings I experienced in my childhood, and it all begins with a total lack of a schedule. No clock, no calendar, no obligations of any kind. A schedule of sorts may come to pass in my future, but for now I am just enjoying my existence and noticing all the little moments that make up a life….MY life! I am turning into a night owl again which I have always had a tendency to be. I enjoy sleeping in because most night owls do! This morning I am remembering the summers of my childhood, when my sister and I would often sleep in late, enjoying the total lack of schedule that became our daily life when school was no longer in session. It felt like a luxury to be done with the hurried mornings of the school year. I have never liked rushing around and summer mornings were a delight for me.
My sister and I shared a room where we each slept in a twin bed that flanked the walls on opposite sides. Our bedroom was papered in the softest hue of green. There was no real pattern to the wallpaper and its soft color of a light, creamy green would create the sense of waking up outdoors. We often slept in late in the summer, and it felt heavenly when we could slowly open our eyes to a sun filled room in a peaceful, quiet house. We would often languish in bed watching the dust motes dance in the stream of morning sunlight that would filter in through our east facing window. I would often yawn and stretch beneath the softness of my bed covers. It was nice to take in the scent of the sun dried sheets that enveloped me. The aroma of breakfast would entice me to get out of bed and wander down the hall towards the kitchen where my Mother was busy preparing breakfast. The minute any of her children sat at the table, our breakfast would be served. It was always different from day to day. It could be pancakes, cream of wheat, eggs, oatmeal, large hot cinnamon rolls, whatever Mom decided to make. It was always hot, always home made, and always served by my Mother. After breakfast, we would rush off to brush our teeth and put on our play clothes and out the door we would run with the screen door slamming behind us in emphasis of our excitement and anticipation of the day ahead.
I learned how to “be” in my childhood which I still practice and value to this day. I think time is essential to the art of “being”, and we were blessed with an entirely unscheduled summer existence. The world was our oyster from day to day. No two days were the same, unless it came to swimming. I loved to swim in the local lake and would spend hours upon hours swimming and cavorting with the other children who also enjoyed the water. My mother would tease us when we got home, smiling as she checked behind our ears to see if we had grown gills. She could not get over our love for the water and was happy that we enjoyed it so much. My Mother had never learned to swim, so it was something of a miracle that her children were like little fish, paddling all over the lake on a hot summer day and even more of a miracle that she didn’t worry we would drown! Mothers of those years just seemed to be confident we would be alright and as a result, we weren’t plagued with worry of the terrible possibilities of what could become our fate.
Today, as I sit drinking my coffee, I am thinking of my Mother and celebrating the fact that we were blessed with this beautiful human being as our maternal guide in life. Today I am much older than she was in the memory I just shared, but as I sit here in the quiet of my house, I can sense her here, enjoying the quiet, the sunny morning, and perhaps even enjoying watching me savor my coffee as she always enjoyed hers in her earthly life. I do not think retirement is going to be difficult to adjust to. I don’t feel compelled to rush out and DO any particular thing. For now, I just want to enjoy my existence. I tip my cup in the direction of the woman who taught us to be comfortable in our earthly skin, and who taught us to watch for the beauty that surrounds us each and every day we walk this earth. My coffee cup is almost empty, so I think I will go out and check out our little Oasis. There is always some plant or some flower that may need my attention.
“Today is the day the Lord hath made…..let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Indeed I do and I am.