This month, my husband officially retired as a pilot with American Airlines. I know his retirement should be about him, but this is going to be quite an adjustment for me too. I need to vent and thankfully I have these articles to work through my frustrations.
Usually, I figure out some type of solution by the end of the article. (In other words, you guys are unwilling victims of my personal laptop analysis. But I want you to know that I do appreciate your time.)
Here’s this week’s specific problem… I am not prepared for my husband to retire.
It’s not like we didn’t know about this ginormous event in our lives. Of course we knew. But how do you really prepare for retirement? It’s like having a gorgeous pool at your feet. Even though the aqua blue water is so inviting and tempting, you know it is still going to be a shock to your body and you sort of dread that first moment.
Some people like to dip their toes into the shallow end first and then gradually walk deeper into the refreshing water, letting their bodies slowly adjust to the change. People on the deck of the pool calmly continue on with their own lives as the person gently cuts through the water with elegant strokes, experiencing a new weightless, carefree life. This is the sophisticated way and it barely makes a ripple in the water.
Jack, my husband, has never waded into anything. He’s more like the bull in the china shop kind of guy, or in this case, the kind of guy who grabs my hand and takes a giant barrel jump into the middle of the pool, splashing anyone remotely close by and causing waves everywhere. While I’m still sputtering and wiping the smeared mascara away from my eyes, he pops to the surface grinning like a 4-year old, and happily encourages everyone to join us.
All of this rhetorical reflection simply means my husband took on his retirement with gusto. He planned a ginormous party for himself and we are in Athens, Greece this very minute with our three amazing daughters as I write this article. Yes, I’m typing away in a hotel room while he’s having a glass of wine and enjoying our last day in Greece with the family.
(Or so I thought. He just walked back into the room and said no one wants to play with him and everyone is taking a nap.)
This human hurricane never “tired” while he was working full time, and now, retirement only means he has more time to play. True to form, Jack has proven to have more energy than all of us combined on this trip. If his younger daughters can’t keep up with him, then I’m going to drown in that retirement pool when we get back home to the real world and I’m essentially alone with him.
Honestly, this is my biggest problem with Jack. He has an incredible amount of energy, again, like a 4-year old. I was hoping our girls could tag team me and keep him busy like we’ve been doing with our two wiggly grandkids, Luca and Brooks, on the trip.
For example, one night, when our oldest daughter, Tiffany, and her husband got cross-eyed trying to keep the grandkids in check after literally traveling over oceans for this retirement party, Jacqueline, our 14-year old daughter, grabbed them and ran around with them for a couple of hours. When I saw Jacqueline begin to break, I knew it was time to take them and read a book to quiet them down a bit. They were still a bit fidgety and our middle girl, Nicole and her fiancé, Mark, helped me out and took Brooks to another room to read him a different book.
Like Hillary Clinton once quoted, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and our family is great at working together and tag teaming. Everyone, of course, but my husband. Just when Luca and Brooks were calm and almost asleep, he walked into the room and flipped Brooks on top of Luca and the chaos started all over again. This time, Mark took Jack outside and kept him busy while the girls and I quieted the actual kids back down once again.
Obviously, the biggest challenge for me will be having my husband home every single night once we get back to the real world. In the past, I sort of teamed up with “time.” He’d come home for three to four days, and I’d cope until he’d leave. Then I’d clean up the hurricane-like remnants and regroup until he’d come back. I’m going to be in over my head with him home every night without a break.
Oh well. He might be a handful, but, like my grandkids, he’s a blast to be around, and we are all lucky to be drenched by someone with a heart and spirit so young and pure.
Congratulations sweetie. Enjoy your new life, splashing away and making ripples everywhere you go.
Jana Vandelaar has worked as a freelance writer in the Keys with a loving family, fun friends and smelly pups for more than 20 years. Check out her website at www.janavandelaar.com for more books available online or ‘Like’ her Facebook page at JanabananaINK for daily smiles about life as she sees and lives it. If you enjoy her articles, Jana has a book titled, “ONLY IN THE KEYS, Snort-Laughing Stories About Life In The Florida Keys.” This is a fun book full of Jana’s most popular articles written for The Reporter since 2008. It’s available at Randy’s Florida Keys Gifts, MM 102.4 or at Hooked On Books, MM 81.9.