Thursday, July 23, 2009

Parents Do the Darndest Things

While we were visiting Utah, my parents were in the beginnings of looking for a new home. I wasn't terribly surprised or alarmed; after all, they seem to go through a wanting-to-move phase every few years or so. But the thing is, they never actually move.  

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.

But, still.

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.  

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.    


tiburon said...

I am going to need to see this house.


Kristina P. said...

That is awesome! I would love to see a picture.

Soul-Fusion said...

my parents were practically nomads during my formative years so it wasn't necessarily surprising when they moved out of the home they were in the longest (through my high school, college, law school years and beyond) but the hardest thing to get used to for me is having no idea what their home phone number is.

Jesse C said...

It still doesn't seem real to me.

MiaKatia said...

It is a little sad when parents move out of your childhood home. I am sure they will love the new house and you will love it too. Although it will feel weird the first few times you come home and feel like a visitor. Good luck with the move Tiffany's parents.

aimee heff said...

I too get emotional when I think about my childhood home. We moved when I was 12 but there was something magical about it.

I like to ritualize the goodbye to a house. It is symbolic of so many things - safety, family, unity. I proper goodbye is in order for your house. Even if you can't be there to say goodbye, closure is important. I know it sounds so nerdy but that is just what I feel.

Congrats on letting go of your parents decisions. That was cute.

Angie said...

Wow, four days is surprising! I don't envy the person who has to go through 33 years of collected stuff. Be glad you're so far away.

Emily said...

Four days?!? That's amazing! I'm in awe. Good luck to your folks on the move! Packing up 33 years of stuff is going to be daunting, I'm sure.

courtney said...

that's so cute (and gutsy!)

Kami said...

It is such a weird thing to have your parents leave the home you have always known. change is good, right?!

Annie said...

wow!!! my dad always talks about moving. mom, she says they are staying forever. we'll see. i guess i should start to prepare myself now. however, i don't think your mom is as much of a pack rat as my mother (you know...grammie syndrome!)

Kellybee said...

Loved this. Whenever I drive by the old neighborhood, it will never be the same!

Shua said...

Yeah, I definitely helped empty out that garage attic. While we were helping we decided that everyone needs to move at least every twenty years just to keep the amount of accumulated stuff to a reasonable amount. Wow, that was a lot of stuff.

Mindi said...

i think your parents might subscribe to my parent's theory: wait until the older children are gone, then move on up to a de-luxe apartment in the sky.

i never thought my parents would EVER sell. then they went and sold.

congrats to the parentals!

shannon p. said...

How crazy are those parents of yours!?! My parents are talking about the same sort of craziness, however, they have had a few neighbors recently sell so low that they were practically giving their houses away, and my parents wont to that...

Christy said...

Wow! I love this post! My favorite quote: "When you're raising parents, you have to expect their phases and go with the flow." It really is brilliant & I am going to write it down.

Omgirl said...

Do you have mixed feelings about this? Because I was horrified when my parents sold the home I had grown up in. I still dream about it, and in those dreams I go home to visit that house and I just sob and sob these deep gut-wrenching, cries of relief that I'm home. No? Oh, Ok. Nevermind.

Brandon said...

Tiffany, you are so funny and such a great writer! Glad I found your new blog spot. Keep up the great writing and we miss you here in the 'ol Cobblecreek 2nd Ward!

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