After looking forward to it all week, I met my former colleagues at Starbucks last week as I had on Friday mornings (and sometimes Wednesdays...and Mondays...) when I was still working. Excited to see everyone, I packed up my bag so I could stay and work afterward - me going to my job when they went to theirs - and headed out to my car moments after my daughter left for school.
When I walked into Starbucks, my dear friends greeted me as though I were a visiting dignitary - which, of course, I’m not - but it felt nice to be welcomed. The laughter and the stories continued as though it hadn’t been two months since I’d sat in that spot, and as usual, time went much too fast. Before I knew it, my friends were heading off to work and I was settling into a chair with my laptop.
A few minutes later, my cell phone rang. “Unknown” flashed on the screen, but I picked up, just in case. My daughter was on the other end, calling because she’d forgotten to take her asthma medication that morning - something that has never happened in the nearly seven years she’s been taking it.
Fortunately, I was available to get it to her - right away - something else that has never happened in the nearly seven years she’s been taking the medication. Within half an hour, I’d packed up my things, run home for the medication, brought it to school and picked up paperwork from the school nurse. I left my daughter’s school and headed immediately to the doctor’s office to drop it off - just because I could.
My daughter is a responsible kid. She’s not someone who requires bailing out on a regular basis. On this particular morning, however, distracted by the picture day preparation and the demands of the first week of high school, she needed me.
And I could be there. There were no schedules to re-shuffle or permissions to request. I didn’t need to hold my breath as I pushed the speed limit, trying to come as close as humanly possible to being in two places at one time. There was no guilt about letting one person down in order to meet the needs of another, and I had the distinctly satisfying feeling that my priorities were in exactly the right order.
It was a nice feeling - great, actually. And, as life after retirement continues to evolve, I know there will once again be days that require me to juggle, and to attempt to be two places in one time. It’s a fact of the parenting life.
But for now, I’m enjoying the luxury of being able to live out my priorities. For the first time in my daughter’s life, I’m here when she leaves in the morning, and here when she comes home from school in the afternoon.
It’s amazing what a joy it is to be exactly where you want to be, even if only for a few moments each day.