Friday, July 18, 2008

Journal of a Living Lady #326

Nancy White Kelly

It is summer time. For some of us, the living is easy. Buddy is busy tending to the garden which is coming in big time. We put up cucumbers and squash yesterday. The green beans will be ready for canning later this week.
I am discovering that being retired can be defined as being tired and tired again. Other than the over-due ironing, the house chores are once again getting accomplished in spite of necessary senior siestas.

Our grandsons, Micah and Noah, ages 3 and 1, came with Charlie and Tori for a visit this week. It is interesting to watch your off-spring assume the parenting role. Charlie received several of Buddy’s good qualities. Thankfully he has my seldom flappable personality. Buddy worries about everything. I worry about little.

Charlie doesn’t over-react to normal preschool-age behavior. When the boys occasionally push Tori’s buttons, Charlie gives welcome relief and restores calm. He’s a good daddy. Tori is a good mother. They are the typical American family of four.

Bobby, the son we adopted out of the foster system at the age of ten, is atypical. His wife Ginger is an MP serving in Iraq. Though he was formerly in the National Guard, an unexpected fluke kept him from joining the army at the same time Ginger signed. Bobby has assumed the role of Mr. Mom.
They have two children, Mackenzie, age 8, and Alex, age 5.

Being essentially a single parent is tough. Bobby is in officer’s training at Reidsville prison, one of the toughest penitentiaries in Georgia. Bobby relates stories regarding life inside prison that are chilling. Already he has broken a prisoner’s ribs in self-defense. For no apparent reason, the inmate attacked him while serving a meal tray through a small opening.

Bobby loves the new job, but struggles trying to juggle child care in the military town of Hinesville. He faces an hour drive each way and must make arrangements to get the children to childcare and race back to get them before late penalties apply. School starts soon. Bobby may be required to attend four weeks of training in a town that is too far to commute. Unfortunately his good neighbors are moving away, leaving him without back-up support.

Bobby may be faced with giving up the best job he’s ever had and revert to being solely Mr. Mom. We hope not. But he is not alone. There are millions of single parents fighting similar struggles daily with no extended family living close by.

Summer time and the reality is that living is not easy for many. We must simply face each new day with renewed energy and optimism. That is especially true for us in the greatest generation. I have biblical reasons to be hopeful, but secular sources also confirm the benefit of optimism.

An article in the November issue of General Psychiatry stated: "A predisposition toward optimism seems to provide a survival benefit in elderly subjects with relatively short life expectancies otherwise.”

I would rather be the optimist who sees the light of the candle where there is none than the pessimist who runs to blow it out. The Living Lady chooses to believe that hope springs eternal no matter what season of the year or season of life.”

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