Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where's Grandpa?

I have great admiration for my Indo Canadian and Asian neighbours who live amicably within multi-generational homes. If they can do it why can't I? For one year my family, six adults and five grandchildren looked forward to one week together in an executive lakeside home in Tulameen BC. I was paying $2500 for the week.

I came to this week having just retired. My prior notions about retirement serenity, reflection, relaxing days with Christine, hours to read, write and paint got reshaped. I love my children and their spouses and I love my grandchildren. Guess what I have discovered. I can’t stand them all together 24/7 for more than one day.

I thought the title 'Where's Grandpa' would be less offensive than 'Holiday from Hades.' One day after our arrival at the happy holiday place I was looking for a hiding place. I found it in Christine’s and my bedroom. “Where’s Grandpa?” was a constant refrain. Gradually everyone knew that when the door was shut, I was lying on my bed, with ear plugs stuffed into my ears, either reading or sleeping. I spent hours there. I know I wasn’t much fun but I also know I have to cut myself some slack. I have never been retired before. I am getting accustomed to myself and my new identity. I am adjusting to living on a government pension. My grandchildren have never been 8, 6, 3, 3 and 1.5 years old and living, waking, eating, screaming, crying and sleeping in the same building with such a great echo and sliding doors. This week of togetherness was prefaced by the c-c-coziness of three of the grandchildren and their parents living in our home for two weeks because of a relocation from Edmonton and the need to live with us until it all settles out.

I am a good Grandpa to one or two at a time and I can be found when the volume is lower and the children are pleasant. We may do another family vacation one day, but likely in three separate cabins.

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