Are we done raising children? It almost feels like it.
This is the third year with all three older kids living and working far from home. Fiona turned 16 this week and is incredibly self-sufficient, living 90 minutes from home. She finished her high school graduation requirements last week, though she’s taking a couple more courses this semester to fill out her year. She’s not financially independent yet of course, but she rarely needs her parents otherwise. We bought a eBike last summer, a fat bike with decent cargo capacity. That allowed her to be much more independent through the summer (when she was working in New Denver full-time) and fall (when she was able to zip around to grocery shop and get to social events and activities across town regardless of elevation gains. Now that it’s winter she’s back on foot, using public transit or begging rides from older friends, but she gets along pretty well.
I’m spending one overnight a week in Nelson to touch base with Fiona. I always get in a couple of bike rides (fall & spring) or nordic skis (winter) while I’m there. But mostly I’m home in New Denver with Chuck which is a nice change from the past few years. We eat meals together, we’ve been skiing together on occasion, and basically we’re just in each others’ lives a good bit more.
I’m also finding myself a bit more involved in community life than I have been for a while. I’ve got a friendly motley crew of older ladies I ski with once or twice a week in New Denver, and I have a bunch of cycling friends in the area whom I ride with and occasionally travel to events with during the warm part of the year. I’ve started doing adult-things rather than parent-things: workshops, movies, ordinary volunteering, social stuff. I did a women’s mountain bike clinic in the summer and I’m involved with the Nelson Nordic Masters Wednesday Ski Nights, as well as volunteering with the club in various capacities. I’m thinking about putting in a proper garden again for the first time in many years, since I’ll actually be here to care for it, though this depends on whether we get the water supply sorted.
Add to that a bit of violin teaching, practicing, my symphony schedule in Cranbrook, the Valhalla Fine Arts board of directors and website work, and SVI administration, as well as dabbling in a bunch of sedentary hobbies (spinning, knitting, Japanese, piano) and I feel like I’m pleasantly but not overwhelmingly busy.
What I really wish for is travel. I have a beautiful bike and most of the bike-packing gear I’d need. I just have to wait for Chuck to extricate himself from full-time-and-a-bit practice at the clinic here. He hopes to segué into something more part-time or intermittent, but governmental health-care management is making it virtually impossible to attract another doc to the area right now. Hopefully things will shift within the next year though. And after that of course I’ll have to convince him to do something other than putter around the property when he actually gets time off. That may prove to be the bigger challenge!