Looking Toward the Firsts and the Lasts
Amy’s and my summer at the shore is coming to an end. We are getting ready to head home to Gig Harbor so that I can go back to work at Gig Harbor High School. This time of year is always filled with mixed emotions for me. I like my job. I assist the most amiable eighteen year old student who is forbearing with an aide who is an old lady. This will be our fourth year together and other than a new schedule, we have our ways of getting things done and have been together long enough to finish each other’s sentences. We have similar senses of humor.
The past few days the weather has been cool and even a bit rainy which would make my husband, was he here, sad, but it does not me. Yesterday afternoon as I dozed on the couch before a DVD a sound reached my ears which I’d not heard for a long time. For more than 20 years I’ve tried to discover that it is on our front porch that creaks in the wind to no avail. It is a slow creak as I would imagine the ropes of a sailing ship creaking against a wooden mast as the ship rocks upon the water rather in keeping with the fact that our 132 year old house is two blocks from the Port of Ilwaco. I have come to love the sound, but was surprised to hear it since the sun had been making a gallant effort to make an appearance when I’d set the sprinkler to watering the garden which I needn’t have bothered with. Now it was raining.
Returning to a job I enjoy is some compensation for leaving the creaking house by the sea that I love as is the turning of the seasons. I realize that Autumn does not officially begin until September 22nd (my husband’s birthday) this year, but my favorite season is whispering her name and leaves from the birch tree are littering the yard between the house and the barn. I took the combination of Mother Nature’s behavior as signs that it was the time to shift some things inside from Summer to Autumn mode. Out are coming my harvest table runners, table clothes and napkins along with my collection of pumpkins and turkeys and my happy Autumn crow. Once I am back in my routine of work and coming to Ilwaco to help my almost 91 year old mother, I have little time for what I call “playing house” otherwise known as decorating.
One twist on the end of Summer this year is that our financial advisor says that I can make this my last year of working for the school district. As a matter of fact between my retirement and Social Security, I will get a little raise. It will mean living frugally because Dave is also leaving his job at Lockheed Martin in Prescott, AZ where he’s been since June of ’12 and returning to Gig Harbor to begin collecting his Social Security, along with his retirement from the FAA. We will soon be embarking on a new phase of our life as we shift our lives from Gig Harbor to Ilwaco. There will be the sadness of having the children and grandchildren farther away, but Dave is certain that we can live more cheaply in our house by the sea than in an upscale suburb.
Mostly I want to be nearer to my elderly mother and spend more time with my Special Needs daughter. The average life expectancy of an individual with Down’s Syndrome is 50. Amy is 42.5 years and I bless each day with her. She can be extra work, infuriatingly stubborn, and loves me more than anyone ever will. I would not trade one day with her for any other day so regardless of finances or other inconveniences; I am excited about the changes to come. It will undoubtedly be a time of firsts and lasts.