My mother and father just left. They were here for a weekend, which sounds long, but in reality when you account for travel time, is not. When your visit consists of the hours between Friday at 3pm to Sunday at 11am, it is in fact one full day and just a few bits. We make the most of our time for sure. Laughing, eating, being ridiculous-and of course shopping. It is what we do best. Saturday was full from one hour to the next as we tried to squeeze every ounce of ourselves into the 16 hours we were awake.
I find now that I am older that while I need them less-my life is simple by comparison to the years I had small children and a few bumps in my marriage-I want them more. I want to spend time with them, whether it is shopping or eating or playing with Snapchat. It doesn’t matter what we do-I just miss the space they occupied in my life now that I live four hours from them. I miss the ability to swing by for lunch or crash in for dinner. I miss calling my mom for anything-and everything.
When I was younger I could not wait to leave them. Could not wait to move out, which I did at the age of 17. And while I moved in and out over the course of those next nine years before I met my husband, I would not have considered myself close to them. I was perpetually angry and fitful with my life and my relationships with them and those around me. I was dating a man they despised and knew was no good for me, and I was determined to prove them wrong. About him, about me, about everything.
It wasn’t until I was married and pregnant with my first and my parents decided to move south, 1500 miles south, that I realized I wanted my parents. I wanted them close. I wanted to be close to them, and not just in proximity. I spent so many years pushing and now there they were leaving….
I lasted 15 months without them before my husband and I packed our things and moved forty minutes away from them. It didn’t help that my sister had moved shortly after they did.
We tend to take for granted the things we have everyday-food, water, your parents. And I am no different. After a few years living in Charleston just a few exits up the highway from them, the weekly visits stopped. The kids got older, life got busier and then we were just like a normal family-visiting each other on holidays and birthdays. But the fact remained that I could visit them anytime I wanted and that was a security I wrapped around me on a daily basis.
Now that I am here in Georgia seeing my folks requires planning and scheduling. Time off and coordinating. And the time flies and is gone before I know it. I hate it.
This weekend I tried to convince them to build a tiny house in my backyard to retire in. I would rent it as a studio in the meantime. I had it all figured out. But I know it’s not realistic. I know that this is how life changes. We change. And I know that as we get older, myself included, time spent with them-hell with anyone-will become more precious.
I will hold on to that as I look forward to my next visit with them.