I consider myself one of the most fortunate people I know. One significant dimension of my good fortune is that I have four adult children of whose I am very proud. And to make a good thing even better, they have all chosen partners who are brilliant, talented, and all-around excellent people. A case in point is my daughter-in-law Robbi, who is an extremely talented artist. A few years back, when my grandchildren numbered about four, she gave me an extraordinary gift of a family tree. She drew the tree, and then decorated it with the fingerprints of my children and their children. As new grandchildren have joined the ranks, the picture has been unframed so that each new baby could have a thumbprint added to the tree.
i brought this picture with me to Indiana, and yesterday Andy and I decided that it was time for Jamie to be subjected to the indignity of the stamp pad. It did not go entirely smoothly. One must ink the baby’s finger and then blot it on paper before pressing the inked finger onto the tree. Jamie was initially bored, and then he decided to press his inked figure onto his forehead. While I couldn’t photograph the actual operation of suspending the screaming inked baby carefully over the picture laid out on the table, you may assume that it was a complex and difficult operation. Which was, ultimately, successful.
now I need just one more baby bird before my family tree can be reinstalled in its frame.
Four years ago I rode very near to here (West LaFayette, IN) as part of the WomanTours Northern Tier Eastern ride. Much of the country was hit by a brutal heat wave, and there were days during our ride through the midwest that the temperature was over 100 and we had to stop every ten miles or so to completely hose down our bodies. So when I packed to visit my daughter and help with her new baby, I anticipated a typical hot Indiana summer. Instead it has been very temperate, and very rainy.
I had a really soggy training ride today. It took serious willpower to even go out. But the Bon Ton Roulet is just over a week away, and so I didn’t want to give up the opportunity for a ride. When I got home, just for fun, I checked the current weather for Cortland, NY, where the ride begins. It looks like we might have thunderstorms for every day of the week of the ride! So I guess this soggy training is just what I should be doing.
Jamie was born at 11:30 on Sunday morning. For me, Jamie’s arrival means that I now have NINE grandchildren. But for his primary people, his arrival means that they are now a family of four. It is a well balanced family, with one adult for each of the brothers. Everyone is tired, but adjusting well. Sleep will come. This precious stage is fleeting. I am grateful to be able to share it.
i had four children and three of them arrived exactly on their due dates. My third child was very late. She was born almost two weeks late, on Labor Day. Which meant that I was overdue during a very hot August. My Mother, who had come to help, had to return home before she was born.
So I empathize with Andy, who is now officially late with her second child. But my empathy isn’t enough to counteract the hormones that have her occasionally churned up to the point of semi-hysteria. Our daily diversions are no longer able to reliably cheer her up. Even the proposal of a walk to Silver Dipper, the local ice cream store, is not generating much enthusiasm. Meanwhile I am keeping busy by tackling organizational tasks around the house, like removing these exceptionally sprouted potatoes that had gotten lost at the back of the pantry.
Maybe the baby will decide it is time to be born tonight.
Today is the official first day of my retirement as Director of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library at Phillips Academy. I am retiring as the last OWHL Director, since the new director has a different, and more elaborate title involving big data.
And, in fact, my retirement began a couple of weeks ago with “terminal leave” (an upsetting term meaning that I took vacation at the end of the academic year.). Since the last official faculty meetings of the 2014-2015 academic year, I have packed my apartment, loaded a UHaul, transported an absurd amount of possessions to my house in Maryland, and unloaded and (partly) unpacked. Before I could really get settled into my new house and new life I packed a couple of suitcases and my bike and headed to Indiana, where my first daughter is due to give birth to my ninth grandchild any day now.
Given how tired she is, the pace is pretty slow here. I am helping out with laundry, dishes, cooking, and playing with my grandson Ardian. I am having a wonderful time, and can’t imagine a better way to transition to a new, slower, and richer life. My plan for retirement is the same as the plan that I have had for daily living for many years. It is just that now I actually have time to really do it. Every day I start with five goals, not in any particular order.
Having Learning as a specific goal meant that yesterday I spent time on my current UDEMY course on productivity apps, and also watched a video lecture on Advanced Serging Techniques on Craftsy. My Making goal has recently been satisfied with a variety of baking projects–including cherry muffins made from bing cherries that had gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and were overripe. There are many opportunities for exercise, and I have enjoyed mixing it up. Yesterday I went on a lovely 20 mile bike ride, and today I’ll do my C25K workout at a track located about a half mile from here. I began a practice of (almost) daily meditation last winter when I took a MBSR course, and am easily able to find time to practice now. To Connect might be a surprising goal to those of you who are not introverts, but for me it is a daily reminder to reach out to someone I care about. That one is ver easy to accomplish here!
My review of retirement so far is five stars.
I try to time my visits to see my mother so that I am here on Sunday. That was we can go to chapel at the University Yacht Club. My dad was a prime mover in the Chapel when he was alive, and his presence is very much still there. His ashes are buried in the garden at the base of the building. My mom attends whenever she can get a ride from Gainesville.
It was a perfect summer morning, quite unusual for Georgia at this time of year. It was not beastly hot, and a late frost has kept the bug population to manageable size. After the service, we went to brunch in the clubhouse, and then walked the grounds. The highlight of the tour was a visit to my dad’s memorial bench. He shares the bench with his friend Furman. That would have made them both very happy.
The afternoon was spent helping mom do various errands. She is blind and so requires assistance beyond the bus transportation provided by her community. Our final errand was to the grocery store, where we picked up rotisserie chicken and various sides to take to my sister’s house for supper. My two nephews, fresh from working all day moving Brian into a new house, stopped by briefly before heading out to watch True Blood with friends.