They've had the same address for 33 years. It's not like they're going anywhere.
One night during our visit, we accompanied them to see a house. It was a great house, but I didn't consider it a real possibility. I mean, we're talking about my parents here, and this was clearly just a phase. When you're raising parents, you have to expect their phases and go with the flow. I'm serious. Write that down.
However, I have to admit that when my dad said, "Wow! Look at this laundry room, Mama!" I could sense that things could be getting serious. He had a passion in his eyes, and if I'd paid closer attention, I would have seen that same passion enflamed when we walked into the detached garage, lined with empty shelves begging for his tools.
We drove back home--their home, my previous home and birthplace--and I went promptly to bed since my body was still on eastern time. I woke up to a big surprise.
"Your parents made an offer on that house," Ryan said.
"Huh? What? When?" I muttered. My eyes were still half-shut.
"They met with the realtor last night and signed papers and everything."
"Who are they and what have they done with my real parents?"
My wonderful, hard-working, devoted parents are anything but spontaneous. I could never, in a million years, have predicted this one. Which, again, leads me to another tip for you adult children out there: Ask yourself this question, "Do you know what your parents are doing while you're in bed asleep?"
You may think you know, but you don't. Write that down too.
So, OK, they made an offer on the house, but they still had their own house to sell. They spent a week sprucing, rearranging furniture, and filling a storage unit with some of their 33 years of accumulated stuff.
They were so excited and hopeful about it all, I was a little nervous about having to sit down with them and explain that in this suffering economy, their house might not sell as quickly as they hoped. You know, life isn't always easy and it's important to have realistic expectations. (These were just a few of the things I had jotted down on some index cards in preparation for our "talk.")
Well, I don't know what they were hoping for, but their house sold in four days.
Blink. Blink. This was all moving so fast.
But, you know something? You reach a point as a child when you look at your parents and the choices they are making, and you have to separate yourself from the situation. The fact is, they are going to do whatever they want to do. It's their lives now. You have to let go. You have to find peace with the way you've raised them and know that you may not have done a perfect job, but you've done your best. (Ahem, are you writing that down? Because it's pretty brilliant.)
In less than a month, they'll be living at a new address. My only regret is that I won't be there to help lug endless boxes of food storage onto the U-Haul and strain my back helping them.
Congratulations, Mom and Dad, I'm very proud of you. And me a little, too.