For nineteen years of my life as a Camden City Public School teacher, May was a rush to the finish. I’m not going to comment on the way everything changed in the last five or so years, but … I’ll say one word–sigh. However, I have to say that I miss the kids. Loved them so much.
This second May of retirement in Cramer Hill brings gratitude for time to concentrate on family and myself. I’m not panting for the last day of school anymore.
I got me a granddaughter in retirement! Reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, watching kids dance the Mexican Hat Dance on YouTube and playing ball make up my most recent time with my grandbaby, Nora. I do other grandmotherly things–picking up puzzle pieces, retrieving bits of veggies dropped from the high chair and changing poopy diapers. I call those activities–Nora-cise. I can’t let myself lie in bed with a Kindle all day–I need the Nora-cise. It might be corny to say, but when she smooths my face with her little hand my heart fills with joy. It’s perfect to love someone so much and to have that love returned so purely. It’s like having my daughter Kim all over again. Double the fun.
My mom is ninety-one and I’m sixty-six. Our relationship has changed since she got older. (Oh, and I guess I got older, too?) I brush her hair, help her get dressed and make food for her when I’m at her house. This was odd for me when she first accepted help. My mother was a fiercely independent woman and she never wanted us to make even a cup of coffee for her. “I’ll do it myself!” Now she enjoys having me make a cup of coffee for her, even if it’s too hot, too cold, too sweet, too weak or too strong. We sit at the dining room table where she has reigned for decades and we color. I color faster, but she colors more precisely. “It’s good to be busy,”she says as she searches for the correct color.
I did cross off a few bucket list items that were “me” items. I took a nine-day solo vacation to Ireland and Switzerland and survived. The worst that happened was that I lost my hat and spare gloves and the best was that I returned with a clear mind–once the jet lag disappeared. I’m so glad that I did it–the night before I almost changed my mind!
It’s good to have personal projects that would have been hard to squeeze in as a busy teacher. I made a cousins’ website and I am writing my blog. I joined Ancestry.com and love what I am learning about world and American history, geography, immigration and family–never realized genealogy would be fascinating.
I haven’t become the perfect person that I imagined that I would be–sorry, world! However, I thank God for these two years and the innumerable blessings that they have brought. All of them would need many more blogs to tell you.
I’m grateful to have this May in retirement. Hugs to all the teachers that I left behind. I salute you! And…I salute retirement.
How about you, dear readers? How is your May?
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra
Cramer Hill resident, former ESL teacher