One of the “children” who grew up around our kids stopped and told us that her parents (in their 70s) had both gone back to work. They don’t need the money; they just need to feel useful and busy. Then one of our older friends (70s) asked this morning about where she should do some volunteer work. River Bend Nature Center seemed like a good place for anyone to lend a hand since it features the natural world the way we used to see it. An e-mail from a younger friend told of her frustration since injuring a leg and being unable to return to work. She wants to get up and go to work. To add insult to injury, her elderly mother fell on our recent ice and, unable to get up and do her usual things around the house, was feeling at loose ends.
Mother once told me that women don’t retire—as long as there is a man around, a woman stays busy. I suspect that as long as anyone feels needed, that person feels useful in one way or another. Mother can’t see to sew any longer, so she bakes dozens of cookies and bakes pies enough to fatten a teenager—and Dad never gains an ounce!
Back when the children were in grade school, several of us “stay at home” moms were the backbone of the PTA—Parent Teachers Association. We made copies, worked in the lunch room and on the play ground, shelved books in the library, and baked goodies for the teachers’ lounge. We learned much from the experience—everything from how to organize a bean supper to how to order books for a book fair—but the main thing we did was stay involved in the education of our children. We were known on sight by every child and every teacher. It was not uncommon to receive a hug from someone’s child just because we looked familiar. And sometimes those hugs were as much for our benefit as for that of the children.
ALL people are really needy people. We all need to feel that somehow what we do or say can make a difference. I believe we were made in such a way that we are only complete when we can share ourselves with others—both spiritually and physically. None of us are disabled unless we are LIFE disabled. We have to participate to feel alive; we need those loose ends gathered and entwined into the lives of others.
Retirement my hind foot! That has got to be the biggest scam of all! Don’t tell me to live it up unless you have something to challenge me in exchange for a work schedule!