It has been 10 days since the birth of my grand daughter. I have many pictures of her and receive almost daily reports of my Peanut. While its not the same as being able to see her in person, I will soon enough, and it was the deal I knew going in.
Traveling through this life I have been granted, when I thought about the future, (which wasn't often enough), it seemed a road fairly straight into the horizon. It was occassionally blurred by mists and a storm or two would block it for a time, but it always seemed pretty assured. I would grow old gracefully, not worrying about expanding waistlines and drooping parts that once had been my pride and joy in "perkiness". Kurt would find hobbies he would love and after retirement would be content to putter. We would have grandchildren like baby bunnies all around our feet, and our days would be filled with laughter and contentment. Sometimes I wonder what I was smoking at the time to have had these visions. When had my life ever gone in such an unudulating path? I would suppose I had envisioned every facet of my life in a certain way. Childhood to teen years and dating. I never had the "Ozzie and Harriet" television version of being a teenager, and yet, I survived it pretty much intact and by other's standards it was almost idyllic.
We didn't know we were the "Me" generation, post Vietnam, and yet very much influenced by what happened there. We didn't know that those cars, the guys among us drooled over, the Dodge chargers, Chevy camero's and corvettes, Ford novas and mustangs, would someday fetch alarming prices if we had only hung onto them when we could finally afford one. We didn't know that, though many of us got college degrees, many of us didn't use them at the time, females especially if they married, still stayed home if they could. Many of us still went into the big manufacturing jobs available as the last of their kind. I didn't know that after graduating college with a teaching degree and no romantic entanglements, that I would meet the man I would marry, the summer after graduation and never really attain that career.
I didn't know that having children would change my life. An abrupt change that no one prepared me for. Thank goodness for two sets of grandparents and many aunts and uncles and siblings that helped me along the way, and allowed me to keep my sanity that first winter with a newborn. The children got easier, as like learning to make pies, raising children was about practice and it an on the job, 24/7 kind of training. I was fortunate, looking back that my kids were pretty easy. They were healthy, and I believe happy, though they might beg to differ.
I centered my life around family and Kurt centered his life around the family business. We were like our friends, raising families and working for the American dream, voting in elections but too busy raising kids and pursuing our pleasures to pay much attention to politics and where this Nation was going. We suffered minor recessions that now seem inconsequntial and gas wars that really seem silly in light of today's $4 a gallon fluxuations. We suffered stresses that gave us stomach problems, and drinking problems and many learned to smoke cigarettes and spent years trying to quit the insidious habit. Because I didn't work, I thought we sacrificed some things, but we still took vacations with the kids, patronized their sports endeavors and were able to buy them the latest toys or clothing. They might see it differently, but looking back I wish we had gone with even less or perhaps I had chosen to go back to work at a time when they were all in school.
Choices were made and many times choices were made for lacking of making a choice. We chose to stay where we were because it was comfortable and secure at that time. I never thought that going through it, as there was always something to worry about, but we were secure living our part of the American Dream.
Somehow we put the kids through college. One year we had three in college, the year of 9-11. I remember it vividly as the 10 year anniversary approaches, because after the cataclysmic events happened that forever altered us as a Nation, I remember calling each of the kids at their schools to make sure they were okay. I knew they were, but I had to hear their voices on that day. I breathed a sigh of relief when Annie graduated from Western Michigan University, thinking my days of paying college tuitions were over, and it was now "us" time and time to start thinking about what Kurt and I wanted to do for the rest of our lives. Time to start being the couple again, but two weddings and two children leaving the state, one the country for a time, seemed to put that off, indefinitely once again. And once again it was easier to do what I had always done, tackle each thing as it came along and not look into the future too far.
In remembering it all life is a series of doors you go through. You pick door number 1, 2 or 3 and sometimes you don't even realize you are choosing a door or walking through it. We are given challenges every day by our Creator and He guides us. Whether we always pay attention is another story, but He is always there. I will face many challenges in the rest of this year and my years here on earth, and slowly like training a child, I get it through my stubborn head that I can affect how I regard the challenges in my life, though I am in the end never in command of my own ship. I am just a traveler through this life that is mine.
Ten days old is my grand daughter Vittoria and so much lies ahead of her and her parents. I think that's why grandparents were made, to fully relish what lies ahead....