“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr. (b. 1940) author of the inspirational book, Life’s Little Instruction Book
As I write this, the two week visit from my Mom and Dad is just winding down. They are here from Phoenix, testing out the waters for perhaps a permanent move. When they share this idea with the people they have met here, folks give them odd looks, as well as comments like “aren’t you moving in the wrong direction”? Don’t get me wrong, the desert is beautiful, especially in the wintertime, but they have grown weary of the fast pace of life, the traffic, and the desert heat. You know how we all escape indoors during the winter? Well, Arizona residents do the same in the summer. The only difference is, while we Iowans can easily pile on the layers to stay warm in the winter, during the Arizona summer one can only get so naked.
Visits from the parents are always a joy and a challenge. No matter how old you are, they still always see you as their child, and resist the eventual coming change in roles. They insist on taking care of you, and even get a bit grumpy when you remind them that not only can you take care of yourself, but should actually be taking care of them. I am constantly reminded that my independent streak did have a source, and patience and humility are qualities with which both sides now have to get more comfortable. The growing never stops, does it?
The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother, and I have been blessed to have parents worth honoring. It is as hard for me as it is for them to watch them age, and witness their bodies start to betray them. I still see them as the parents of my youth, and they still act like they are. Time has stopped in our memories, but reality keeps barging in, forcing us to acknowledge it and adjust. Both sides are learning new skills, and making our way through them can sometimes be difficult. But I suppose that too is a part of the honoring process.
Mom and Dad have always enjoyed their visits here to Iowa. They comment on how friendly people are, how relaxing the pace of life is, and most importantly, for some odd reason, they sleep better here. Well, at least that last one is important to my Dad. Once they do finally decide on whether or not they are moving here, their next decision will be on whether to buy their own home, or just add on to ours. And I suppose that answer will depend on how well this trial run goes.
But that is an article for another day. In the meantime, I am treasuring my precious time with Mom and Dad until they board a plane for home.
“Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go”. ~ Fred Rogers (1928-2003) American educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, author, and television host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood