Mom and Daddy arrived on the 13th and had quite the extended stay. Our week together was a busier than expected week. It was a tough week. A very emotional one. At the end, I think we all felt like dishrags. Emotionally exhausted.
But, at the same time, excited!
Life is made up of both expected and unexpected events. These events range from happy to sad and everywhere in between. That's the roller coaster of life.
Life is a series of chapters.
Chapter 1 - Boy meets girl, girl meets boy and they fall in love. We all know this story. My parents were high school sweethearts and will soon celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.
Chapter 2 - At this time, fifty-six years ago, my parents were building their home in Virginia. They moved into their new home in November 1957 just in the nick of time! A few weeks later, I was born.
Chapter 3 - I think this life chapter is the longest. Mom worked as a schoolteacher and Daddy as a policeman until their retirement in the late 1980's. I was fortunate to be near all four of my grandparents and saw them frequently. I walked to my neighborhood elementary school, played at the park down the street, went camping with my parents, and had many wonderful years in that house that was built the year I was born.
Chapter 4 - I went away to college and left Mom and Daddy with an empty nest. They handled it well. They were busy with their work and their crafts - Daddy weaving his fabulous baskets and Mom with her folkart painting.
Chapter 5 - Next, my parents retired. Both were fortunate to be able to take early retirement and have had plenty of years to enjoy life. By this time, I was married and they were about to become grandparents.
Chapter 6 - Grandparents! Two new little boys to enjoy the house they built the year I was born. Lots of things to do there. Making forts with bedsheets draped over the dining room table, hiding Easter eggs (one never to be found), baking cookies, sleeping over, walking to the park, etc. Yes, the walls expanded a little to contain all the new memories that having grandsons made.
Chapter 7 - Then, a very unexpected turn of events. My husband's job moved him out of state. Over eight hours away. The house's kitchen sobbed with me the day I stood in the middle of it telling Mom and Daddy the news. I didn't want to go. How could I leave them at this stage of their lives? It was a heart-wrenching visit with them that day and the house that had known me since birth groaned in misery as it witnessed our unhappiness.
Chapter 8 - Mom and Daddy learned to navigate the highways from Virginia to Ohio and visit me several times a year leaving the house by itself for a week at a time. Funny. Up until my move, our visits were brief - for dinner or just to stop in. It was nice to be able to spend extended periods of time together.
Chapter 9 - Great-grandparents! When you think the house can't see anymore fun and excitement, Mom and Daddy welcome daughter-in-laws and next great-grandchildren. What fun it is to have them visit! The house feels young again! They're not sure they feel young, though! Those little ones are busy!!!
Chapter 10 - A major awakening. A health scare. Daddy's heart attack in January of this year made us sit up a little straighter, listen a little more sharply, pay a little better attention. How many chapters did we have left to share? The house that was built the year I was born - though it was greatly loved - presented differently now. Split-level with the laundry room downstairs, a large yard mow, beautiful gardens to tend, stairs outside and inside.
Chapter 11 - This chapter is just beginning and it's the purpose of this post. Last week when Mom and Daddy were visiting, we went to an Open House. Mom fell in love with a condo-style home just 13 miles from me. No stairs, maintenance free outside, within minutes of everything I can imagine them ever needing. By the end of the week, they had signed a contract. This was very unexpected but I believe things happen for a reason.
Perhaps this chapter will be the toughest one yet. Perhaps not. It will definitely be an adjustment as they pack up a life's worth of memories and possessions to move from Virginia to Ohio. They'll be leaving the city in which they grew up and where they attend the church in which they were married. They, like me four years ago, will be leaving everything familiar to them to begin this next life chapter.
This past week saw tears and worries and excitement in looking backward and forward. A whole gamut of emotions.
There are many many pros to this move - we will be close again and able to see each other frequently, they will be able to relax and not worry about taking care of the house and yard as the years pass, they will have made THE MOVE and not have to wonder what they'll do if something happens to one or the other of them. The new home will be easily manageable. The list of pros is long and goes on.
The con - perhaps the only one I can think of - is leaving the familiar. Friends, places, memories. The house that they built.
However, very shortly new acquaintances will become friends, unfamiliar places will become familiar, new memories will be made.
Most importantly, a new home will be made in Ohio. Afterall, home is where you hang your heart.
As you can imagine, my heart is about to burst! I can hardly wait to have Mom and Daddy close-by. Instead of a few visits per year, we will see each other several times per week. I hope they'll enjoy it here as much as I do.
So, in closing, I hope the house will forgive Mom and Daddy for leaving. I hope it will know that the decision wasn't made lightly. I hope that it will welcome a new family who will make its own lifetime of memories within its walls.
To Mom and Daddy - You are courageous and brave to make this next step. You are my fan club and I can hardly wait to have you here on a permanent basis!
Now, quit reading this and get back to packing!!!!!