One of our longstanding guests at AdventureWomen who first joined us on a trip to Nepal inspired us with her personal story about embracing a “curve ball” at an unexpected time in her life. Here is her powerful story and the positive energy she draws from travel, adventure, and most of all from family.
In her own words…
“Life throws us curve balls every so often – some are mild and some are not. You might hear people say, it’s how you deal with them that counts, but we all know there’s more to it than that. And in many cases, curve balls have silver linings. Mine certainly does.
In my early 50’s, I started thinking about my retirement. My kids would be launched soon and I would be financially secure and able to travel, volunteer, nurture friendships, and devote more time to photography. I’d worked hard at my career as an environmental consultant, working on river and harbor cleanups, and was ready for new adventures. At about age 55 I decided to move from Seattle to Bozeman, MT where I had family and had spent lots of time. By the time I turned 61 last April, my new home near Bozeman was feeling well broken in and I was working very little. I had already traveled with AdventureWomen to Nepal and taken a trip to Mongolia and China – experiences that were scary and exhilarating! I eagerly perused the AW website for my next adventure. I’m the president of the board of a local non-profit and have developed a wonderful circle of friends. Golf and hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter, gourmet group dinners, lunches and dinners with friends and family. I had quickly developed a sense of purpose and identify in my new hometown and was living every day to its fullest.
My curve ball arrived by text message the evening of September 19, 2018 – a request from my 6-year-old grandson’s mother that he come live with me in Bozeman for the school year. She couldn’t control him or get him to go to school, and didn’t know how to help him. My son is in college and hasn’t been overly active in parenting. The request wasn’t totally unexpected – there has been trouble in my grandson’s home for years and he has been sent here before. And I knew that this time it could very well extend far beyond the school year.
Varied thoughts whizzed through my brain. Shawn needed to be in Bozeman – no doubt about that. But what about the freedom of retirement? How could I hike or ski or play 18 holes of golf? Yes, I could find a part time nanny. How bad were his behavior problems? I knew he’d need counseling, but what kind and for how long? What if I couldn’t get him to go to school? I need fairly aggressive foot surgery – how could I cope with consecutive surgeries on both feet and keep track of a 6-year old? How could I not take this child in? He’s bright and engaging and needs to have a secure future. How long would this really last? Yes, how long?
As these thoughts were flying around in my head, I also felt an immense grounding. Of course I would take him – how could I not? I would love him with all my heart, every minute of every day. A young child is innocent. Any problems they have didn’t originate with them. They deserve everything we can do to support their development into secure independent productive adults. Every child is different and each has his or her own potential. Our job is to help them achieve their potential. My days would be filled to the brim. I’ve raised boys before and I can do it again.
My curve ball has shifted my world dramatically. I still dream of new AW adventures and will, one day, book my next trip. But for the moment I’m focused on Shawn. While I lament the loss of “me time”, I wouldn’t trade my curve ball for anything in the world.”