Too many changes in too short of a time span. Still adjusting. Letting the dust settle.
Last year, after 20-some years of living in Madison, my parents retired and moved 4 hours away. I knew it was coming. I tried to prepare myself, but did a better job of keeping myself in denial. I mean, really. Could my parents really (really) move hours and hours away from me/us? Me? The kids? The city? Me? It didn’t seem possible.
It was. It is. They are happier than ever and remind me of how much they are enjoying themselves.
The hardest part of them being gone would be the face-to-face conversations. Phones don’t capture a conversation for me. Email.. no, but I do like getting emails from my parents. The lost art of writing. But phones (especially cellphones, which we are both using) lag, stick and delete parts of the conversation making it awkward, messy. My parents don’t know how to Facetime, and if they did it would be similar to those cellphone conversations.
I miss them. Not only were my parents close to us (you could hop on the bus three houses down from us, ride it to their part of town and get off of it three houses down from their house – no transfer), but they were close to the kid’s school. Many times I would stop in for coffee or a quick chat while I waited for the boys to be done with wrestling/soccer/whatever. I’ve driven by their house on occasion, those evenings when I would have normally pulled up and walked right in. It makes my heart ache a bit. Truly ache. That’s a real term.
Then I have my college son. That was a whole new adjustment. Still is. There are people that squeal with glee when their kids reach this age – old enough to send off to the dorms. And then there are those who go through (literally) stages of greif, sadness, depression. I… well, I wasn’t squealing. I am happy for him, I am. But I really had to be honest with myself on how I was feeling. My oldest left the house for different reasons. I went through similar feelings then. It got better. This has gotten better.
But it’s still there.
My parents came for a visit this past week. My dad had a meeting close by, and they extended their time here to hang out with family and visit friends. They stayed in a hotel one night and with us the second night. We don’t have a big house. To stay with us, they have to take over a bedroom, and boot a boy out of it. It’s fine, it works, but it might not work for a week’s stay. I wish I had a bigger house. I’ll just put that out there. At any rate, they stayed here, but I didn’t see them too terribly much. Dinner the first night, ships passing in the night the next day. Talks over coffee the morning they departed. It was good to see them. Really good.
I had just learned that my hours might be getting (probably, inevitably) cut drastically in the new year. I tell you every time things look up for us, in comes some slam from the other side that we weren’t expecting. We will never be financially solvent. Will we ever be financially solvent? We will be financially solvent someday. We will. I have to believe that. Sorry, little mid-paragraph pep talk for meself. So, yeah, I was just a little bit shellshocked about the whole thing, and I was glad -so glad- that my parents were here. That I could tell them some of this stuff face to face and have a real conversation with them. It’s cathartic to be able to speak with someone in the flesh, not through an electronic.
I’m so very tired of speaking with the people I love through electronic devices. (Yes I am thankful for the ability to do so, it just isn’t my preferred way.)
So, we have coffee with my parents on their departure day, then Frank and I go off to run errands, stop at Costco, the library, blablabla. All’s good, right?
I get home, begin to unload the groceries, walk into the garage, hear my dog waiting for me on the other side of the garage door, open it – and there it is. Coffee. The smell of the coffee pot, lingering in the air.
That’s all. That was it. All I needed.
I crumpled. Sobbed. Needed a hug from my husband – something I probably don’t allow myself often enough. Keeping hard, keeping moving, that’s what works sometimes.
Not that day.
I missed my mom and dad. I miss a lot of things. It’s OK to miss them as long as I don’t envelope myself in it, seal it up and stay wrapped in it forever.