It changed for the better
I have a new normal. But, the new normal that I am addressing today has nothing to do with COVID.
Everything in my life instantly became different, in a good, great way.
My old normal was very different
My old-normal was a very different life. Living in the Philippines for so long, in many ways I became almost culturally Filipino, especially after I learned to speak the language. Making an instant change back to US life was difficult for me, but to be honest, it has been less difficult than I expected.
Now, after more than 2 years in Indiana, I am feeling quite at home here, feeling American again.
Really, almost every aspect of my life became different, and I had to adjust. Some adjustments were easy, some difficult. Most adjustments were somewhere in between.
By far, my most difficult adjustment had to do with loneliness. For all of my life in the Philippines, there were always a lot of people around at the house. At that time, we had young children. Also, with friends and relatives there in the Philippines, we almost always had others visiting at the house. I particularly love having children around, and I was very used to that in the Philippines.
When we moved to the States, suddenly two of our 3 “kids” were out on their own. Chris lived here with us, but Jared lived in Alaska, and Aaron lived in Atlanta. They are all adults and venturing out on their own. Feyma and Chris would go to work at around 3:30 PM and get home at about 2 AM. I was alone the whole time. It was so quiet in the house you could hear a pin drop. After 6 months or so, we got a cat, and I enjoyed having another living thing in the house, but it’s not the same as people. 🙂
Thankfully, I did have a few friends in town, although before moving here I had never set foot in Indiana.
This loneliness problem changed a lot in December 2020. Some friends of ours had a baby. The Mom (Nenz) is a nurse and she worked at the hospital. The Dad (Arcline) works at Tyson with Feyma. The parents are Filipino, and their son, Cline, was 4 months old at the time. For his first 4 months of life, Arcline and Nenz could watch Cline, since they worked different schedules. Because of a work change, their schedules suddenly overlapped, and there were 2 to 3 hours a day when there was nobody to watch Cline.
Feyma told Arcline that I was lonely, and missed having kids around the house and told him that she thought I would be happy to watch Cline until his mom got off of work. She was 100% correct. I had met Arcline and Nenz once or twice, but did not know them well, nor did they know me well. But we all got together one day, and everybody decided to give it a try, for me to watch Cline during those overlap hours.
So, I started watching Cline in early December, and have been ever since. Cline is starting to talk now, and he and his parents call me “Lolo Bob” (Grandpa Bob). Cline doesn’t have any grandparents here in the States, so I am very happy to be his Grandpa here. It’s good for him, and good for me too.
Both Feyma and I have come to love Cline very much. I usually watch him 2 or 3 times per week, but on the days I don’t see him, he is on my mind, and I miss him a lot. I no longer feel that I am just called “Lolo”, I feel that I am his Lolo.
Such a joy
Cline is such a joy to spend time with. He cries very rarely, never complains, and is a very sweet little boy. I like it when I play with him and teach him new things, and I can instantly see him doing the things I showed him how to do. It really gives me fulfillment to see that when it happens.
At this age (over 8 months old now), Cline changes in some way every time I see him. I don’t like it when I don’t have to watch him for a longer period. Sometimes it might be a week in between the times I need to watch him. When that happens, we try to get together with the parents on the weekend, to fill that gap. I love it, though, when it’s been a while since I’ve seen Cline and he gets very excited when he sees me again.
Now that we are into Spring, and it is starting to get warm enough to spend time outdoors, Cline and I are getting into some other types of activities. Last week we went for a walk one day, and that was fun. I also like taking him outside where he can see animals and hear birds in the trees. He likes that too, he seems to really enjoy spending time outdoors.
I already have plans in my head for Cline in the future. Looking forward to taking him fishing, doing “grandfather” type stuff together. Can’t wait.
Having Cline around has probably been the biggest improvement in my life since coming back to the States. I am really thankful that his parents trust me to take care of Cline. And, the love I can feel from Cline makes me feel so good. He is a special kid.
I’ll be grandpa Bob as long as he’ll have me. I hope that is a long time!