My first weeks of retirement were spent with my grandchildren (plus parents and dog) in their lovely summer home situated four minutes’ walk from the sea and wetlands and three minutes’ walk from the woods and conservation land.
Morning ritual one: two barefoot kids in pyjamas run outside to the mailbox and stand in front of it with their arms raised up in the air, waiting for me to pick them up so that they could open the mailbox. By themselves. One would think, what’s so special about an ordinary US mailbox? but uptown city kids get mail from their doorman. Great back stretch and resistance exercise, by the way, I highly recommend it. Just go through your knees when lifting so many pounds of child, twice.
Morning ritual two: Breakfast! Smoothie? Oatmeal? Toast? Cheerios? Eggs? Yogurt and fruit? Your wish is my command….no it’s not a restaurant but they are my grandchildren….as long as it is reasonably healthy I will go for it.
Morning ritual three: Playlist with kids’ songs on the home speakers, singing and dancing, still barefoot and still in pajamas. Grandma joins in: loosen up those muscles, Old Girl! Little Diva runs upstairs between songs for wardrobe changes, complete with headwear. Little Fearless One climbs with great earnest onto every possible surface from which he could fall. All are enjoying themselves immensely, including Old Girl.
Morning ritual four: get washed, get dressed, go outside. Grandpa has taken the dog for their daily constitutional and they join us now. Big Dog is fed. There is coffee. Watered-down juice (falls into the reasonably healthy category.) A snack, of course. Water the plants in the yard, play ball games, play hide-and-seek with ALL the cuddly toys (Big Dog finds the ones we forget). Play zoo and zookeeper, play dog-is-sick-and-has-to-go-to-the-veterinarian. Yes, Little Diva is also a Little Animal Lover. Little Fearless One wanders inside and builds towers with blocks and makes vroom-vroom sounds while playing with toy cars. He sorts the pile of shoes in the hall into pairs, sweeps the floor and puts every tiny piece of lint he finds in the wastebasket. Little Fearless One will be a most-wanted partner some day.
The welcome early afternoon nap of Little Fearless One is a moment when we all gather energy for the rest of the day. Read. Play a board game or color with Little Diva. Or just cuddle and chat and snooze on the lawn chairs, drowsy from the sun. We hear waking-up noises upstairs. How to continue our day? The beach? A hike in the woods? Stay home and play in the pool and yard? The luxury of the seemingly endless row of warm, lazy summer days without school and work and commitments settles over me like a soothing balm. Deconstructed days. Meals taken under the shade of the pergola or on a picnic blanket on the grass. Relaxing and reading on the lawn chairs by the pool while Little Diva and Little Fearless One run around the yard with Big Dog. Soft evenings outdoors, fire pit on, toasting marshmallows and counting fireflies.
Sleep comes easily these days. Alert ears for the two Little Ones, but that has become second nature now and barely disturbs my rest. What a start.