When I stepped out of the early childhood center I founded, I knew I was not yet done contributing in my field. Having gained over three decades of knowledge through study and wisdom through experience, I wanted to continue sharing it. Instead of retirement implying a retreat from active participation, the question was not if I would continue but rather how I would do it.
Stepping out of my job gave me more time. Time allowed me to prepare for downsizing by sifting through possessions we had accumulated in our old Victorian home. When we found a small modern home, we left behind things we no longer needed, lots of storage space, and the upkeep that went along with an old house. With this move, we discovered a sense of freedom and space to rethink our work and lifestyle.
Soon after we moved, our first grandchild was born! A bonus of our new home is how close it is to our daughter’s family. Her family expanded to include two sons born within two years and we enjoyed walking over to pick up the grandchildren or to join them for Sunday dinner. The proximity increased the comfort and ease in visiting - which we did as often as possible.
Becoming grandparents was a welcomed change! By spending time with the children, we forged close bonds and supported the young family. Being an early childhood educator, I find great joy in the presence of young children.Their playful spirits and sense of wonder keeps them alive in me! That’s when my professional and personal life came together and I knew what I had to do.
Besides being an educator, I am a writer who has published in many different formats including three books. When I found myself retelling stories of the wonders of our grandchildren, I knew I had to record and share them. We had often heard how wonderful grandparenting is, but nothing truly prepared me for the outflow of love I experienced when it happened.
Having heard that when we invest in our families, children are like interest and grandchildren are more like dividends, I can now say, it’s true!. The payback by far exceeds whatever we put in. Writing about our experiences with the grandchildren kept them alive in my thinking.My intention in sharing them is to spread joy, hope, and a template for intergenerational connection with readers.
When I started writing, I thought it would be a book about the wonders of early childhood, but I soon found that it was as much about aging. At the same time that my skin has lost its elasticity, my heart has gained it. The freedom to love wholeheartedly is one of the gifts of aging. And I would gladly trade the dark color of my hair for the wisdom that has accompanied the silver streaked tresses I now have. Although there are things we give up when we age, I choose to focus on the gains.
Letting go of the work I did in the world, gave me the opportunity to write in my new home office and to uncover the benefits of aging. This is an amazing time of life and babyboomers will not do it the same way as generations before us.
I suggest that instead of resisting, we celebrate it!
About the Author:
Judith Frizlen is a writer, teacher, mother, grandmother, and founder of the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center. An advocate for young children and everyone who cares for them – she is a champion of play. Judith likes to go on adventures with her husband – whether traveling, kayaking, hiking, bicycling, or just strolling through the local park. She just released her newest literary treasure: Where Wisdom Meets Wonder: 40 Stories of Grandma Love; which discusses the unique bond between grandparents and grandchildren & embraces aging! Her other books include: Unpacking Guilt, a Mother’s Journey to Freedom; Words for Parents in Small Doses; and Words for Teachers and Caregivers in Small Doses.