I have been back living a “semi normal” life since the end of March 2022. I had walked 600km of Te Araroa NOBO (North Bound)and the Abel Tasman Track, then spent time hanging out in the South Island. I say semi normal because I have continued to be homeless as the nice man continues to rents my house in Palmerston North. As a result I have shared myself around the homes of my kids and friend’s trying to make myself useful doing most things except cooking.
To bring a few dollars in I have been doing contract accounting work back at a District Council I had worked at last year. Being a 40 minute drive from any of my kids homes I found a lady to board / lodge with Monday to Thursday nights and have been coming “home” for the weekends. At first I thought Margaret was just a small country town grandmother who liked to knit and dye wool. But every night I was surprised to learn more about her interesting life. A Masters in Education for Special Needs has taken her all around the world including time in the Middle East and throughout Africa. Another string in her bow was that she had been one of New Zealand’s first sex councillors. So be careful with first impressions of us grannies. I enjoyed her company and we fixed all the woes of the world over a wine or two during the evenings. She also fed me well!
Then during the weekends I shared my housework and babysitting services amongst the family. I spent a lot of time at the local playgrounds with toddler Finn, letting him run around, jumping and climbing on stuff with me watching from a distance, as I did with my kids over 40 years ago. This is different to how kids are parented nowadays. The mums and dads today hover over the kids keeping them less than arms length away all the time so according to Google I was doing it all wrong. However Finn gained a lot of physical skills, confidence and loved his time out with me. And he survived!! Five weeks ago a new baby arrived so I moved in with the family and had lots of cuddles with my 7th grandchild. My eldest is 24 years old so I have a good range and I am privileged to be able to have the time to spend lots more quality time with these latest batch than I was able to do with the older ones.
In June my son and his family came over from Perth, Australia for the first visit since the Covid pandemic. They have had three trips cancelled so we were all on tender hooks before they actually arrived. These grand daughters are 15 and 17 years old so a real pleasure to have around and very helpful with the little kids. I organised a family weekend away at a school camp venue where we did a day tramp, explored some caves, did a family quiz and spent the time eating and drinking and catching up on all the family news.
I have really enjoyed having time with my family and I am pleased and honoured that they allow me to share their lives with them and build strong relationships with my grandchildren. I knew that from the birth of my first child (47 years ago) that I was going to share myself with others for the rest of my life: that my life would never be my own. However it now time for me to do something for myself and have another adventure. They are all happy for me to go off and are well used to me disappearing for months on end. They are okay without me.
I hope that you can all absorb my experiences and that I can be influential in making people realise that dreams need to be made into plans. Only then can you do whatever you want in life. Just do it: plan the first day and the rest will just follow on.