“What would you like to do with me this weekend?”
By itself it might sound like an odd inquiry that I heard one recent weekend from my wife, Nancy. In fact, it caught me off guard.
The question came in advance of a Sunday afternoon when it would just be the two of us alone together at home. Our 16-year-old daughter, Anna, as is frequently the case anymore, had other plans that would find her gone from Sunday morning, when she headed to church, until some point Sunday night, following a day of fun activities with one of her best buddies.
Such days when it’s just Nancy and I together have become increasingly frequent, especially since Anna secured her driver’s license earlier this summer.
Although she wears glasses, my bride of 37 years is far more “far sighted” than I am. Nancy is already looking ahead to the day when we no longer have a teen-ager to torment. (I’m sure that’s the word Anna would use.)
After some couples get their kids raised, their offspring remain an integral part of their lives because they live just down the street, across town or somewhere within the same area code. Another tie that continues to bind parents and their grown children together is the appearance of grandchildren.
In the Henley clan, the closest of our four grown children lives roughly 2 ½ hours away. And their trips back to America’s Hometown are infrequent and generally last hours instead of days.
As for grandchildren, while they exist, they are rarely seen and there is virtually no interaction. Case in point, when my daughter, Amber, was married in June, just before I was to walk her down the aisle, one of my youngest grandchildren approached me and innocently asked, “Who are you?”
Anna has already served notice that her intentions are to follow her beloved siblings’ course of action and relocate whenever the opportunity presents itself in the future.
Let me pause right here and say I’m not crying in my root beer over the infrequency with which I see my adult children. They have lives that have taken them to other locales. I get that. And I’d much rather them be where they’re at and happy, than living next door and be miserable.
With all that said the one person I’m counting on having in my life, God willing, into the foreseeable future is Nancy. But it’s not uncommon, once the kids have left for a couple to look at each other and realize they’re now married to a stranger. My wise wife realizes that and is already seeking to forge new bonds between us before our “nest” is empty. Thus the recent question: What would you like to do with me?
Page 2 of 2 - It was a tough question since over the years we have both developed our own hobbies. Nancy is wonderfully creative. She recently made a quilt out of a bunch of neckties. It’s amazing! But unfortunately, sewing is not a great spectator sport.
My favorite pastime is photography. And while it’s not uncommon for Nancy to accompany me on one of my photo-shooting outings, I recognize how boring it can be for her to sit and wait while I line up my next shot.
We are discussing different possibilities of activities that we can explore together.
As for the recent Sunday afternoon, we wound up shutting off the TV, going into the kitchen and baking some peanut butter and chocolate cookie bars together.
It was a tasty and enjoyable activity. And more importantly, it was something fun we could do together.