We had a loving family when I was growing up and I believe that the new family created when I got married was just as loving. Our two girls, just like most young people, were full of fun and busy with school.
My husband, Wayne, has always been a wonderful husband, although he found it hard to show his feelings. He loves to tease and put his arms around me, so even though he doesn’t put it into words, I know that he loves me very much. That wonderful feeling when he touches me...it makes me tingle clear down to my toes...even after forty-seven years of marriage.
We lived modestly, saddled with a large mortgage payment and a car payment. With two children including one in college, we didn’t have much saved. Like many families, we lived from paycheck to paycheck, but we managed.
When our children married and left home to start their own families, we concentrated on saving everything we could toward retirement. We had plans to spend the winters in Arizona, close to his relatives and childhood friends, and summers in Hermiston, Oregon, where we would be close to our youngest daughter, Casey, and our two grandchildren, Nikki and Cody. Casey’s husband Gary, is a rancher and quite a businessman.
Our oldest daughter, Pamela, lives in Connecticut, where she pursues a career in opera. Her husband Chris works for a large bank in risk management. We visited them in 1983, when they lived in London, but haven’t been to Connecticut, at least not yet. Our plans were to return to London while they were still there, but things kept getting in the way. She and Chris travel all over the world in their respective careers. it’s an exciting life that we love to hear about when she and Chris comes to visit, and we look forward to the tapes of Pamela’s performances.
Wayne and I both loved to play golf and played at the drop of a hat, or should I say visor. Of course, Wayne’s played on Sunday, men’s day, and I played on Wednesday, women’s day, when I wasn’t working. We loved sports and liked to be outside in the fresh air as much as possible.
All that changed when Wayne’s mom moved in. Our carefree style had to accommodate caring for his mom, with one of us at home all the time as her condition worsened.
We adjusted our lives around her needs. Our plans for retirement were put on hold and we used much of our savings to buy the equipment we needed for Mom’s room. The free time we used to have was gone. Golf tournaments were for one of us, not both of us, dinners out were few, even company was curtailed because of Mom.
We tried our best to adjust, but it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to stay home on Saturday and Sunday, when we wanted to be out golfing with our friends. It wasn’t easy either to work nine hours a day and come home to a complaining mother-in-law. But, the worst thing was watching my husband’s health deteriorate as he worked all day and took care of his mother too. It was hard on Wayne to lift his mother from the bed to the chair, while she fought against him every inch of the way. His back suffered along with the rest of his body. But Wayne loved his mother and would do anything that was necessary to keep her comfortable and happy.
His own health wasn’t good. He was headed for renal failure and grew progressively weaker as his kidneys shut down. Wayne decided to retire early, at sixty-two, to help take care of his mother. He would care for Mom in the daytime, while I took over during evenings and weekends. I came home at break time, plus at lunch to fix the noon meal. It was a busy schedule, but we managed.
My boss told me to go home any time I was needed. He realized I was doing a balancing act with all my responsibilities and gave me all the time I needed. Even though I knew that it costs a business when an employee is off the job too much, I appreciated my boss’s consideration and tried to give him extra time to make up for it. That was before the Family Leave Act was in place.
I wished I had someone to guide me though those years. I know now that I tried to take on too much.
It took its toll.