I am reclining in my outdoor “Big Baby” swing enjoying the breezy cool of a late morning. I call it the big baby swing because it somewhat resembles those baby swings where a parent places the baby in the reclining chair of the swing and when they wind it up, it begins to gently move forward and back in a rocking motion. In no time, the baby drifts off to sleep. As I sit here rocking forth and back, I can understand how a baby would be lulled to sleep.
Our swing doesn’t have the music nor the windup mechanism. It doesn’t really need it because all it requires is one gentle push on the side of the stand and the rocking begins. It is a very comfortable outdoor swing and I bought it for Al when he retired. He uses it a lot and as I sit here, I can see why he is so drawn to this chair. “Big” babies also love to lay in comfort peering out into the world while enjoying Mother Nature.
I do a LOT of thinking when I have quiet time, and this morning is no exception. I found myself remembering back many years to a church circle coffee I was attending when I was living in Southern Minnesota. There was a lady who was in our Bible Study by the name of Corey, and she was a long time widow. Somehow, we were on the topic of widowhood and I found myself asking her what was one of the most difficult parts of being a widow, outside of the obvious. She paused a minute and then said, “Well, I would say the most difficult part of losing your partner is that you are never “number one” with anyone anymore”. That certainly caught my attention and has stayed filed away in my memory bank all these many years.
Al and I have been married many years and have raised a family of children who have acquired a very healthy autonomy. Not much evidence of co-dependency among them. I realize as I think of each of them going about their busy lives that they feel the freedom to enjoy their lives fully without needing our approval. They like having our approval, but are not dependant on it to make decisions. They each have their own “number one” to share their life with. Hence, as their parents, we have moved down the ladder of importance to number two, or number three, or number four. Sheesh! Number four after a stomach full of stretch marks and dwindled bank accounts from clothing them, educating them, and nurturing them? Huh? But, as our younger son always says, “it’s ALL good, Mom, it’s all good!” Indeed it is, because these things are as just as life intended things to be.
So this brings me back to the thought of “number one”. Al and I have been really busy these past several days…actually a couple of weeks, getting our urban oasis in springtime good order. We also cleaned up after a nasty hailstorm that forced us to rake debris and re-stain badly damaged wooden furniture where the hail stones gave the appearance of a machine gun hitting them. We each had our job and worked in companionable silence. We are like a well oiled machine, he and I, and it is a joy to spend time doing most anything in each other’s company.
Sometimes I worry just a little bit about my lack of a need or desire to be a social butterfly. We live in an area that just abounds with women’s activities and so many of the women I know are involved in a plethora of groups! Where we live, if you have a particular interest, you will have no trouble finding a club that features it. For my part, I have LOTS of interests, and I certainly enjoy women friends. However, I just don’t need any of it on a regular basis. A lunch here, a coffee there with a friend who matters to me fills the bill very nicely.
Al was raised on a farm in Minnesota and I was raised in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We both were brought up in very rural surroundings where we learned to love our families, enjoy a good friend or two, enjoy a good book, and even enjoy a little sweat on our brow from occasional outside work or play. We especially learned how to be comfortable in our own company. Our childhoods fully prepared us for our retirement because when we were young, if we got bored, we used our imaginations to fill our day. God forbid if we told our parents we were bored because anyone our age knows the response to that statement. ” You are bored? Well, if you can’t find something to do, I will find something for you to do!” You only said it once and after that you knew better than to share that thought with the elders. Oy!
Well, I best get going. The morning is soon over and I am finished with my rocking. Al brought me coffee earlier and it is mostly gone now and what remains is cold. What is on my agenda for later? Nothing as of now, but I am pretty sure I will spend my time with my “number one”. We just never know when we will no longer be number one, so above all else, we may as well enjoy being in first place with our honey while we can.