The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Remind Me Again What Day It Is Tomorrow!!

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Ever since Nat’s two daughters have been having money problems, we all came to the conclusion that we would only spend what money we had on the four grandchildren. Of course, the grandchildren were a lot younger when this was decided and of course, being little ones they demanded more. Nat and I had also come to the conclusion that we should only buy one large item we needed for the house or for personal use and enjoyment. One year, we bought a big screen TV, another year we purchased a new stereo set while in Florida and yet another year our new bathroom renos would be our gift to each other. At that time it somehow seemed right. The money was tight once we moved into our new little home and there was so much that needed to be done. Every penny was going to count and we felt pretty good about the whole thing.

As times have changed, naturally, so have we. These past three or four Christmases have been boring to say the least (except for family gatherings) and every year at this time we have to keep reminding ourselves that it is, in fact, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. With my emotional ups and downs I’ve also been having bouts of depression – waking up Christmas morning with nothing around the tree. No gifts to each other, not even one big purchase. We have it all! We’re also saving for more work to be done around the house and there’s nothing left for either one of us to buy for each other. With childhood memories bouncing around in the old brain along with waking up early Christmas morning, it confirms I am, in fact, getting older by the day and reminiscing a little too often. I really do miss those Christmas mornings. I keep blaming Nat’s two daughters but I know in my heart it was the right decision at the time; even today they continue to struggle financially.

This whole scenario was also the same with all of my sisters and brother. We’ve all got families of our own to take care of, and it’s become harder and harder with each passing year to think of anything that the others might want.  Plus with so many of us (adults, nieces, nephews) it’s also become expensive even if we put a monetary limit on the gift – which makes choosing even more difficult. This year, however, I decided enough was enough.  My little mini-stroke had proven to me once again (the first time being my transplant) that life was too short and I was taking it for granted. The hell with them all – I bought each one a token gift to say “thanks for being there”. And so it is I’ll have a box full of gifts, along with their usual tin of homemade cookies, to deliver on Christmas Day when we gather at Tam and Daryl’s for Christmas Dinner. I can’t wait, and yes, I know it’s an ego thing – but it makes me feel ever so good and satisfied. So there!!!

It goes without saying that I wrapped most of Tam’s family Christmas gifts this year. I get such joy out of doing that, and it helps a lot to put me in a somewhat Christmas spirit. Without the wrapping I think I’d go batty somehow. It’s just not Christmas without it. Plus I know I’m doing Tam a huge favour by taking that task off her hands. After all she has enough to do for her family – buying the gifts, keeping her house in order, taking care of her husband and two kids and their routines and even hosting Christmas dinner this year. It’s the least I can do to ease some of her stress while filling a lot of my empty and boring hours at home. I hope I can continue this little tradition and I hope I can keep the promise I made to myself for 2014 and beyond – a new and more “laid back me” (let’s see how long that one lasts, shall we!!) , along with starting up my own little Christmas tradition. It’s ME and my crazy little mind that matters. No one else is going to do it for me!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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