by Leane VanderPutten
My Children Are Grown, What Do I Do Now?
Well, I am not quite there yet but I have definitely gone through a transition in the last ten years! My youngest, Angelo, is 12 years old. So, yes, definitely there are different dynamics from changing diapers, toddlers tugging on skirts, teaching school to many, praying (and trembling) about my boys riding dirt bikes, making dinner for hungry (and many) mouths, making lunches in the evening when your legs ache and your eyelids are drooping, etc.
I actually have free time now!! …Well, not a whole lot because I still have many things to do in the home, this website, babysitting grandkids, taking care of my mom and sister, etc.
I’ve never been afraid of this era in my life. I will always feel like a student in the Book of Life….ever growing, ever learning!
One reason I anticipate with joy this phase of my life is that most of my children live close by and I have several grandchildren that do and will be coming over in my golden years. My heart and my home is open to my children and grandchildren. I don’t deny that sometimes it is a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice that is well worth it. I love them dearly, I wish to give to them, even when it hurts and although I do not think about this much, I know they will take care of me.
(Note: We do not have to be slaves to our children and grandchildren but it is important to go the extra mile! Remember, “What goes around, comes around.” We don’t look for recompense…but it comes.)
I am needed and I think Grandmas are very much needed, especially in this day and age. Our children and our grandchildren need our support, our wisdom and….our cookies! 🙂
They need to be able to look to us as part of their stability and security, part of their beautiful lineage.
If you don’t have children and grandchildren close, that’s ok. There is still much to accomplish in your parish and community! And you can make sure and stay in contact with your loved ones through modern technology, hand-written letters (and stickers…children love stickers) and little gifts here and there. Oh yes, and, of course, Masses offered for them regularly!
Just lately, I was talking to someone who asked me, “Tell me, does it bother you that you are getting older and opportunities are less?”
I had to laugh. Are you kidding?! There are so many opportunities for fulfillment in our senior years. We have so much experience behind us; we can offer our services in so many areas. And it can be fun!
What about offering to start or lead a Legion of Mary Praesidium in your area? It could be a Junior Legion of Mary…for children. Or the Senior one…for the adults. Look it up…see if it could be a fit.
How about a Reading Circle? You can get your grandchildren together, or the children of the parish, once a week and take time to read to them. Make it simple but fun…offering refreshments, coloring pages, etc. And what a fine opportunity to talk to them about God, the saints, Our Lady…. The parents would so much appreciate your input and a little break for themselves.
How about starting a Finer Femininity meeting? The young ladies look to us as mentors. We don’t have to know everything…we may have stumbled along through life ourselves…but we have learned things, right? Why not pass some of that on? Besides, when we have an FF meeting, we can pass on information, our own experiences don’t have to dominate the meeting.
Titus 2:3-5 tells the older women to use their experience and knowledge to teach the younger women: “The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” -Douay Rheims version.
Age should never be a barrier to making dreams come true! If anything, it should be an asset! And when we are Catholics we have powerful Sacramental grace backing us up, too! +
My aunt became a medical doctor in her late 50’s! She had a dream, her children were grown. So she went for it!
My mother started going to school as a Naturopath Doctor when she was pushing sixty! She is 82 now, still sees clients and has helped so many people. Loneliness? Are you kidding! She is amazing. She is still learning about health and is on top of the latest breakthroughs in the natural medicine world. She researches and gets excited! It is because she is doing something she loves.
And it is so precious to see my own grandchildren (her great-grandchildren) file up the sidewalk to her little apartment that is on the back of our house to get their “treat” from Grandma (a lollipop from the Health Store). Grandma never minds the interruptions, she revels in it. They are a blessed pause in her very busy day! And those children will always remember going up to Grandma’s door to receive their “Grandma goodie”! (As you can see from the picture the farm dogs also file up her sidewalk to get their goodies!)
Now, we as Catholic Grandmas have certain criteria we must follow before we pursue any life revolutionizing dreams…. We should ask these questions: Will our spiritual life suffer if we follow this dream? What does our spiritual director think? Is our husband on board (always consult your hubby!)? Will our family life suffer, etc.
Now, for me, I didn’t have the answers to all of these questions when I started this website. My husband wasn’t sure, either. But he was behind me. So, I had to test the waters. And it wasn’t easy at first.
Point being…you won’t get a written letter from God. So you must pray, trust, and if doors open, then act!
Don’t ever lose your enthusiasm and excitement for life! Being “too old” should never be an excuse…it shouldn’t even enter into your mind. (Even with health difficulties, we have much we can accomplish…being a prayer warrior is the best of all!)
You are needed! You have talents! Share them!
“As grandparents, we have the opportunity to be an encouragement to those all around us. People want to have us share some of the secrets of contentment. Being grandparents gives us an opportunity to really shape the next generation.” 101 Ways to Love Your Grandkids, Bob and Emilie Barnes http://amzn.to/2oFNjyD (afflink)
Speaking of Prayer Warriors….Here is a book highly recommended by my mother who spends much time each day in prayer.
It is a unique little prayerbook of powerful prayers and devotions, including wonderful promises attached that were made by Our Lord or Our Lady to various famous Saints. Includes devotions to Our Lady, the Infant Jesus, Precious Blood, Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, St. Michael, etc. Shows that God wants to grant us favors–if we will just pray! Impr. 138 pgs 27 Illustrations
These gorgeous mantillas, beautifully made in Spain, are available here at Finer Femininity to purchase for $38.95 each. (Shipping is $3.00)
Pick the color you would like from below and I will ship it out to you pronto! You will be happy with your purchase! They are very elegant and lovely!
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