Back in July 2017, unbeknownst to me, I realized that I had achieved another retirement experience. I don’t remember putting it on my list of suggested experiences (#57), but sure enough there it was. I think my wife suggested it and I put it on the list knowing I would probably do it eventually anyway.
For a retirement experience it makes sense. Usually the parents are so busy with work that they can’t be taking vacations all the time. We grandparents that are retired have the time to sneak in a few more vacations.
Mary Ann and I took the grandkids (Grace, George, and Annie) to the beach for just less than a week, staying at my sister’s place in Bethany Beach. Although there was no adjustment for Mary Ann to spend this much time with the grandkids, it was for me. I felt that we were temporarily filling the role of parents. This was strange for me. No daughter to be mom or son-in-law to be dad. We were the first line of defense. We had the kids all the time. You can’t return them to their real parents like you do when you watch them at home. I did feel like I was a dad again but instead of two ‘daughters’, I had an additional child, a ‘son’ to be dad for the 5 days.
We had fun over those days. We would go to the beach and the pool each day. We even went and played miniature golf. (It was hilarious watching them try to hit a golf ball. We couldn’t teach them the right way to hold the club. We just had to let it go and watch them try to figure it out. Sometimes Papa has to just let it go and let them do it their way.)
The last day at the beach was the most fun. I took each grandchild individually into the water past where the waves were breaking. (It is rare that I even get all the way into the ocean anymore.) Each child liked it so much I took each out twice. I would hold them the entire time we were out there. The most exciting part of it was when I took Annie (3 years old) out the last time. While the surf was rather calm, there was one wave that snuck up on me. When I turned around to see it, I quickly realized that it was going break on top of us. There was no way we could have bounced over it and not enough time to dive under it. It knocked me so well that I lost my footing. Oh, I had a firm grip on Annie the whole time. She was sticking to me. Problem was that it would take me a few seconds to get my footing and come up for air. You should have seen the expression on Annie’s face when we came up. She was very surprised to say the least. I went from Papa mode to salesman mode. I convinced her that she was brave and that she had the most exciting ride of all. She was so proud of herself and couldn’t stop talking about her adventure.
So I survived the vacation. More of these experiences in the future.