Learning from the Past

Transition time is all about adjusting to life’s curveballs. We re-design, re-calibrate, re-adjust, and often reinvent ourselves in the process.

On the trip to my Aunt’s birthday party last weekend, my parents and the rest of the older generation spoke of their pasts in a way that I had never heard before. Their honest assessments of their trials and tribulations gave me a new appreciation for their lives.

My parents recalled how my grandfather borrowed 400 dollars to loan my father. He needed it to make the down payment on our house. Their first house was a source of great pride. My mother remembered the house payment was a whopping 86.10 a month. They often struggled to make the mortgage and loan payment when an unexpected repair or doctor’s visit dented their monthly budget.

My parents talked about how family members pitched in and helped each other out, in so many small ways. My great Uncle Jimmy would occasionally slip 100 dollars in a card just because he knew Christmas was coming, or that my parents had another mouth to feed.

When my Dad was injured on the job, and was on disability and was eventually forced to retire from the fire department, my Uncle George, who lived around the corner from us, kept his spirits up. Dad was devastated and scared of the future. He loved his job, and could not imagine how he was going to support his six children. George invited our brood of six over to swim in his pool almost daily. He fed us lunch, and he took my Dad out to run errands with him. He gave him a lot of advice and support while my Dad re-adjusted and re-calibrated his life.

Every family member has gone through transition. For some it has happened more often than seems fair, given the circumstances. But the continual message I received as I listened to them tell their stories is that when life knocks you down, you get back up. If someone is there to offer a hand to help you back on your feet, it makes the transition easier.

© annettealaine-2012

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