Retirement is indeed the turning of a big page in one’s life journey. So much so that many people do not look forward to such major upheaval in their lives. I don’t look at it that way since it is not about me this time. My mother, a nurse, is about to retire and a party is in store to celebrate her many dedicated medical years. We have a lot of family coming to join mom’s coworkers. It will have a medical theme, of course, with plenty of references to the stethoscopes, hypodermics, blood pressure cuffs, bandages, compression stockings, and more. I have my ideas about decorating the room. I will try to use the medical paraphernalia humorously, some of it hanging from door jambs and windows. I will fill bandages like a piñata laden with assorted candies and mini toys. I want it to be festive and fun and a big send off for her termination of a major lifelong career.
Mother’s friends are nurses so I will have favors and gifts for them as well. I am making goodie bags full of colorful Band-Aids (the kind kids like), shoe laces in colors for nurses sneakers, miniature tongue depressors, and the like. It is all in fun as every guest will be entirely familiar with this hospital stuff.
Some family members are not as in the know so they asked me about finding gifts for nurses. What do you get a retired nurse? I answered just about anything. Don’t worry about making it practical since she is no longer on the job. Why not eschew the nurses gift idea altogether and get luxury items she never had time to use like perfume, cosmetics, scarves, and real pantyhose—not just the thick and unsightly compression kind. I myself had been struggling with the gift idea since I wanted it to be a representative of the major nature of this event. So I started thinking about a nice vacation to a sunny isle somewhere where she could bask leisurely in the sun. As a nurse always confined to dark hospital corridors, she had gotten a bit pale. I think this kind of gift would be a big surprise. She never had time to take more than two or three days of vacation, as dedicated as she was. She never wanted to abandon the patients and she was always on time for her shifts. I think if I do the sunny isle location, I can add this to the decorations of the party as a getaway secondary theme. We can have rum drinks with little umbrellas and trays of tropical fruit like pineapple. We can have colorful cloth draped here and there, the kind they wear in Hawaii on those famous shirts and muu muus of the state. It will be a hint of what is to come. I want to convey the idea that life is grand after retirement and something indeed to look forward to.