Life can seem like a roller-coaster with its ups and downs. Also, it often seems comprised of episodes or chapters, as in a book, where the start and end of each section is triggered by a significant event. Maybe I am mixing metaphors but I have thought of both roller-coasters and multi-chapter books as retired life has progressed this week.
A year ago, our family life was upturned by Middle Son (MS) being run down on a pedestrian crossing by a police fugitive in a car. He has made a good recovery (though I bet he will be stopped at every X-Ray machine at airports). Finally too, just this week, the police arrested the culprit. MS’s accident was a deep low on the roller-coaster but, although the court case and insurance claim is still to come, he and we have moved onwards and upwards. It was great to see him looking happy this last weekend when he, Eldest Son (ES), and ES’s lovely girlfriend visited us for the day to celebrate Long-Suffering Wife’s (LSW’s) birthday.
We had a highly convivial day marking LSW’s (big-with-a-nought-on-it) birthday with all our sons. There was even some probably ill-advised hugging! The sun shone, there was great food and, mid-afternoon, LSW had a visit from the family of her younger brother and her mother. We observed social distancing outdoors with them but the atmosphere of sociability and exuberance pushed away the disappointment of having had to cancel LSW’s our original plan birthday holiday plan due to the Covid-19 crisis. It felt liberating just to have a lot of people in our garden again; a lovely slice of (almost) normality…..
Of course, a birthday can mark the start of a new chapter of life. This one did so, especially, because Covid-19 lockdown has eased enough that Youngest Son (YS) was able to leave us, a couple of days after the birthday celebrations, for a new start in Northern Ireland. That has left a hole in our days that will take a while to re-seal with other interactions and activities.
YS had been with us for three months and his can-do enthusiasm and almost constant positivity (so different from me) will be sorely missed. As parents, it was a privilege to have him at such close quarters for so long. I suspect our first post-lockdown trip will be to Belfast to see how he is settling in there and we are looking forward to that hugely. Not only will we see him again then, but a trip away from home will be a welcome break from our re-trenched lockdown routine, and a chance to see a part of Britain I have not seen before. Four years ago – almost to the day – we were waving YS off to what turned out to be three years in Australia; Northern Ireland is not so far!
Until we are able to make such a trip we are more than making do outdoors with the enjoyment of our garden and the seemingly endless variety of local walks.
The garden is full of flowers, the meadow is gradually revealing increasing plant diversity in response to our benign management, and both garden and meadow are full of bees, butterflies and other insects.
My life chapters may be moving at a more sedate pace than YS’s but my roller coaster is nicely located for a contented retiree 🙂