Every once in a while a new experience comes along that has the effect of making a very different way of looking at our lives.
Bringing forth four sons, living with them thru a tumultuous twenty five years or so, surviving the ups and downs of daily life as they grew and wrestled each other for their place in the family order is something that is not for the faint hearted. I can proudly report that I did survive it.
When the last one to leave rode off into the sunset I didn’t waste too much time or breath missing the constant uproar that had been going on for the past quarter of a century. Wives came along, and then grandchildren, and a whole new style of family living. Everyone ended up with a chance to make their fortune on their own. We knew what each other was doing, roughly speaking, but their lives were their own to make.
Time went by. We often lived in the same towns, like Cortez, CO, Lawton, OK, Holton, MI, even Wyoming and Montana, but we didn’t stay in each others houses overnite. We had our own homes and our own spaces.
We are wintering in Florida in a retirement community, and guess what. Son #3 and wife are arriving for nine days! We are all excited, hoping for warm weather. I begin to plan things, and then I realize. I haven’t lived in the same house with #3 son in over 35 years! I don’t know what he really is like on a day to day basis! What does he like to eat, what kind of TV does he watch? What are his every day habits?
For twenty years I took care of him, knew him as well as anyone in my life, and now a relative stranger is coming for nine days. How is it going to work out?
Wednesday noon. I hear a car door close, then another, and they are here! Looking as great as they always do, smiling and hugging, and it is like the years have all flown away and we have our children back again.
There are some obvious differences. I notice that now they tend to take care of us, instead of the other way around. As they are showing us new pictures of their life I realize anew that they are grandparents also, and in the prime of their lives. They have their own friends and their own business interests. Their lives are full and I am so proud of them.
I finally realize. They are grown up. They don’t just need us but want us also.
The days fly by and all too soon the alarm rings at 2AM, and off they must go to the airport. And we return to our quieter life, thankful that we have had a great time renewing our friendship with our children. We can rest assured that we did our job and they are part of the living proof of it.