The past year has been difficult for everyone, but stories abound of the contributions made by individuals who retired from their previous employment only to find themselves being called back into another job they hadn’t planned for, but were all to willing to accept.
When COVID-19 first appeared, no one knew what to expect or how long it would last. As days turned into months, some were called back to their jobs, either in person or working from home. At the same time, schools and daycare facilities were closed.
So, grandparents stepped in, and became full or part-time teachers and caregivers. Many acknowledge it wasn’t what they planned for their retirement, but they were glad to be able to help. They gave up their leisurely mornings of time spent with a cup of coffee and a good book for early rising. They were once again changing diapers, preparing breakfast and lunch for toddlers and young children, helping with homework on a daily basis.
What began for some as a fun holiday stretched into months, and finding things to entertain and distract from the boredom and isolation many children experienced during lockdown was challenging.
Some families found it easier to move in together.
“One of my grandsons is immune compromised, so there was no choice but to do what we needed to do to make sure he was safe,” said Paula Hawk Wood. “So, my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson moved in with me.”
That required Wood to give up her sewing room and move everything into her bedroom.
“I thought that retirement would mean that I would sit and sew all day, play with my grandsons, travel,” she said. “Now I play with my grandsons a lot, and sew when I can.”
A second younger grandson now stays with her often, and she said the two have become best buddies.
“They have spent more time together than they would have otherwise. It has been so much fun seeing them together, and I love it, but I am tired. Some days we all need our naps.”
Some found they retired from one job to take on another.
Sharon Harvey retired from nursing when the pandemic began, and now spends her days babysitting her grandchildren. She said she hasn’t really retired, she just changed jobs.
“I’m not really a morning person, but I’m getting up early nowadays,” Harvey said. “I love watching them and knowing they are much safer in their own home. I loved nursing and hadn’t planned on retiring, but decided to for health reasons of my own when the pandemic began, so that made me available to help out with my young grandchildren.”
There are many such stories of grandparents willingly taking on unexpected responsibilities during the Pandemic, with most saying they were greatly appreciated, and rewarded with hugs and kisses and giggles and laughter and wonderful memories that comes from spending time with their grandchildren.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. She resides in Meigs County, Ohio.