Friday, November 25, 2011

How I spent our trip to Alabama...

Engaging in long discussions with my father over pipe and coffee.

Watching him build a table with plywood, dowels, glue, paper, resin, bondo and a log from a nearby tree (when asked years ago why he did things like that, he simply said, "Well, nobody else is doing it.")

Listening to my mother talk about how wonderful my children are, and how Wifeness and I are such great parents. I think she is genuinely in awe of this, and that she could have somehow contributed to this is a source of constant surprise to her. I don't know why. My folks may not have been the paragon of exceptional parents, but they did an excellent job of modeling for their children what a loving house should strive to be. Their example, and the fact that my youth was notably devoid of drama, neglect or abuse, gave me a good sense for what the ideal of parenthood is supposed to be -- and that it is not the same for everyone.

Watching both of my parents rediscover their grandchildren. They see them so rarely that the kids have changed completely between visits, and are entirely different people each time. I'm sure they'd like to be a greater part of their lives, they enjoy seeing how much they've grown each time.

Appreciating that, as older people, they do not have the endurance for the busy, always-on-the-go lifestyle we lead. Although I think it's good (especially for my mom) to be more active, the level of energy in our world is much higher than it is in theirs, and they don't maintain the higher level well for long. Even their dog takes more naps when we're around!

Trying not to roll my eyes while my father tries to convince me that buying a double-wide mobile home is the smartest financial decision one could make.

Arguing with my mother about the amount of (unnecessary) cleaning she's doing, just because we're here.

Realizing that my parents are getting older, and wondering how many more times their grandchildren will get to see them before they die.

Hoping that, as I hug them good-bye, that it will be at least one more.

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