Moira+I are SO lucky… we have three of our grandchildren (and their lovely parents!) living in Bristol and so we have the huge privilege of watching them grow up and develop at close hand. If ONLY we could wave a magic wand and have such regular playdays etc with our other three grandchildren in Leyland (and their lovely parents, of course!). Actually, Mikey, Dan+Jemima have Dave’s parents living just down the road from them – which is absolutely great.
Retiring when we did has ensured that Moira+I DO have the luxury (yes, I know we’re a privileged generation in many ways) to be able to enjoy spending time with our grandchildren – among lots of other things.
I’m not actually due/entitled to retire until February 2014, but I made the conscious decision to retire early (in the summer of 2011). I’m really not sure that I can afford to retire, but we live relatively simply and, so far, we seem to be muddling through reasonably well.
What I CAN say, after a little more than two years of retirement, is that (so far) it’s been a brilliant decision. We’re both active and reasonably healthy (albeit with the odd ailment!) and this has meant that we can REALLY enjoy our grandchildren NOW – in a way that my parents, certainly, did NOT do so… ok, yes, it was a different world and it’s probably just as well that my parents didn’t have a big involvement in our daughters’ lives!!
This involvement with our Bristol grandchildren’s day-to-day lives has taken on a new significance TODAY… it’s our first proper playday with just Ursula, because Rosa is now at school full time (obviously, Iris has been at school for some three years now).
Before I retired, Moira used to take a hand in looking after Iris+Rosa one or two days a week. In the school holidays before retirement and during subsequent term times, I have really enjoyed participating in our twice-weekly “playdays” – which, over recent months, has also involved Ursula.
During term time, we’ve had Rosa+Ursula playdays twice weekly and, over the school summer holidays this year, we’ve enjoyed the three girls’ company three days a week… yes, physically exhausting, but great fun!
With Rosa starting full-time school (she was in the nursery class two-and-a-half days a week last year), there has come a sudden (for me) realisation that in a little more than two years’ time, Ursula will be in full-time school too… if I hadn’t retired, I would have missed out on enjoying all those playdays with Iris+Rosa altogether (and several with Ursula).
What value can you put on witnessing/participating in these wonderful early days of your grandchildren’s lives to such a full extent? You simply can’t. Having gone through the experience, it’s priceless.
We continue to be incredibly lucky… and hugely privileged.
Photo: the Bristol contingent…
PS: yes, I know there COULD be more grandchildren… but I think six is a very good number to stick on!