Travels

Joys of Retirement

Anyone who has grandkids, knows the sublime joy they bring. Having them around more than makes up for the boredom of retirement. I put it off for as long as I could, hoping that I would come up with a new hobby or pastime. It was no longer possible to play cricket with my friends, who like me were already passed their prime. My son and his wife love that I am willing to babysit, along with grandma when she is available. She loves to bake and socialize, so she meets with friends on Facebook a great part of the time to share recipes and whip up good stuff for the family.

When you babysit a lot, you try to come up with new ideas. They can get bored with their old toys, and even the newer ones I keep in a closet. They like board games only if I play which means sitting uncomfortably on the floor. I get up with a stiff back. Then it is time for a walk around the block and a few minutes of tossing a ball. Between all this and regular meals, the time flies by.

Grandma suggested that we buy the best mini trampoline for the tots as it would fit nicely in the rec room or backyard. I could see their bright, smiling faces as they would jump up and down. We got the item right away. I read all the instructions and went online to learn how to teach them a few moves. I would not be participating, of course. They started by fighting over who would go first and when all had calmed down, they took turns jumping uncontrollably. When they were pretty tuckered out, I showed them a picture of a knee tuck so they could vary their sessions. It wasn’t hard and they had a little competition about who could go the highest with their knees pulled in.

I showed them more photos and they got ambitious. Each of them attempted an advanced trick: a half or full body twist. I made a big deal out of it, pretending that they were in the Olympics. I would rate each effort with a number from one to ten. They insisted on perfect scores each and every time. It made me laugh so hard.

“Look, grandpa,” was the constant chime. They wanted my full attention and accolades. Now when they come over, they insist on the trampoline first, ignoring all the fabulous toys and games in the closet. They are getting rather one-dimensional and I couldn’t even get them to stop to go out for ice cream. The trampoline was a brilliant idea. Someday I would buy a larger one for the backyard. First, I would make sure that all the safety features were in place and that they understood how to avoid getting hurt.

Meanwhile, I can watch them grow up right under my nose in my own house. I notice that they want to come over at every opportunity. They don’t have to be coaxed.