Stage of Life: Parent, Child, Grandparent

by | May 23, 2022 | Family | 4 comments |

The Second Stage of Life

It’s 1994, and I am in the thick of the second stage of life, a householder earning a living and raising children. Though I make mistakes as a parent, I make sure my children have their basic needs: security and survival, esteem and affection. I check homework, drive them to after school activities, bake cookies for piano recitals and dance performances—here, The Nutcracker—cheer them on during Scouts, choir concerts, whatever activity they commit to.

And then it is over.

The First Stage of Life

This weekend, Keith and I visit my daughter and our granddaughter to celebrate their birthdays. I bring them some Girl Scout cookies, but do not sneak any. My son and his partner join us to celebrate and attend our granddaughter’s recitals. It’s May, and the school year is drawing to a close with these culminations.

Our granddaughter is beginning the first stage of life, being a student, and my daughter is in the thick of her second stage of life, a householder earning a living and raising her child. Though she makes mistakes as a parent—all parents do—she makes sure her child has her basic needs: security and survival, esteem and affection. She checks homework, drives her to activities, bakes cookies and cakes, and cheers her daughter on in whatever activity she commits to.

As grandparents, Keith and I enjoy watching stage one and two, now in our rearview mirrors.

The Third Stage of Life

“Western culture divides life into three stages: birth/student, work/family, and retirement/death. My husband and I, moving into our retirement years and building a new house, borrowed the Hindu concept of four stages, adding a time of spiritual growth and reconnection between retirement and death.” Thus begins my guest post on Brevity blog from last Tuesday.

“The third stage of life, Vanaprastha, the name we chose for our mountain home, means retreat to the forest. Not retirement but time to learn, reflect, and grow. Time to take the internal journey and heal past wounds from loss, rejection, and inexplicable disruptions. Time to explore, discover, seek meaning, share wisdom, and serve others…”

But we humans are messy, and our relationships even more so. Though Keith and I make mistakes, we make sure we have our basic needs: security and survival, esteem and affection. And we cheer one another on in whatever we commit to, becoming our truer selves.


  1. Arleen Bohlmann

    Your wise writings/sharing again gives me thought and blessings. Thanks you Carole!

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Arleen. God bless you! -C.D.

  2. Sarah Myers

    Your daughter and grand daughter look so happy. Your words here are so wise. Thank you.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, my dear friend. All is well – everyone is well. Trust with you, too! -C.D.


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