Now that we are getting situated in our new place my wife and I thought it was time to invite the parents down for a few nights. We have been working on the yard to clean up, clear out and replant where appropriate and are feeling good about our progress. The inside is pretty well under control and livable although we are doing our darndest to get started on a kitchen remodel. We know what we want but are having a heck of a time getting on the calendar of the very busy local contractors. In the meantime the current accommodations work fine.
Mom and dad are each 83. They are in pretty good shape and still feel comfortable enough to make the three hour drive to visit. By comfortable I mean between the two of them they safely navigated the long trip although it did take a bit out of them. I get it – I don’t like to drive for three hours and I am 27 years younger. Plus to get here they must leave the slower more sane pace of their smaller town and battle through the Bay Area with its ever intimidating and mind dulling traffic. But they made it and in pretty good time too.
Prior to their arrival we did what we could to make sure their room was as comfortable as possible. Bright bedside lamps were put in place to assist in evening reading, they had their own bathroom, extra blankets were laid out which proved unnecessary as their arrival coincided with a tropical storm driven heat wave, and a generous amount of night lights were disbursed to illuminate their way after dark. All in all not a bad place to hang for a few days.
It is always great to see the folks and they are genuinely happy to spend time with us. When we get together we talk, laugh, eat good food and of course drink good wine. However I am beginning to think they are happier to spend time with their daughter-in-law than their son. Not that they don’t love me but Beatrice is just so darn lovable that she steals the spotlight. No problem there as she has the same effect upon me.
As we catch up it never ceases to amaze us the length and depth of what they remember. When sharing a story of the past the details are specific and thorough. They relate everything from the day and weather to what they had for dinner and who they had it with. Avid travelers throughout Europe when my dad was stationed in Frankfurt they remember the names of every obscure town and village visited including how to correctly pronounce the names. It is always fun taking a walk down memory lane which sometimes feels like a geography lesson.
It is no surprise the folks have slowed down a bit. Dad has some issues with his balance and so our walks are limited. Where ten years ago he would have happily made the one mile walk to the local wine tasting rooms this time we drove. Mom does not always catch exactly what we are saying even though she swears her hearing aids are working. To her credit she is not afraid to ask again rather than be left out of discussions. Both are incredibly sharp mentally – a blessing for sure. The physical side of aging is something we all will face at some point, no exceptions.
Mom and dad headed back home after two nights with us. That long three hour drive was waiting but they were in good spirits. They truly loved our place and the time we shared. We agreed that Beatrice and I would be happy to drive down to pick them up should their driving no longer be an option. As they headed down the road we were pleased with the success of the past nights and even a little sad to see them go.
Spending time with the parents makes me feel good. They are wonderful, interesting, funny and rarely dull. And of course they are mom and dad. I sometimes feel a little morose when I see how they are slowing and realize that I will one day be in that same boat. I remember not so long ago when they were perpetually on the go with seemingly endless energy. But then I look again and realize that if I am fortunate enough to be driving myself three hours to visit my kids when I am 83, I will be pretty lucky.
Getting older is not or the meek. But spending time with those you love is a wonderful fortifier.
Mom and dad, it was great having you and we are looking forward to your next visit.