A few people were slightly baffled by the mention of my parent's 25 day stay at my house in yesterday's post. Apparently this is not normal. What?
I don't understand that at all. Are there people that would not welcome their parents or in-laws to stay at their house for almost a month? Does this not sound as blissful as I believe it to be? Perhaps I should tell you my side of the story.
My parents live in the great state of Indiana. The glorious state of John Cougar, Hoosiers, real seasons, proximity to other states without driving an entire day, David Letterman, chipmunks, The Children's Museum, and, well....their house. It's a pretty fantastic place.
The problem with Indiana is that it's a tad far from Central Texas. It's not easy for my parents just to drop by here. There must be a certain amount of effort involved, and with my parents, there must be an enormous amount of effort involved in even the briefest of journeys.
My Father has to orchestrate which bills will be due during the time period in which they are gone and be sure he has written a check, created a log of which account that money will be taken out of, how it plays in to his projected budget, and calculate the cost of the stamp versus the cost of the mileage to deliver the bill in person. This is not as easy as it sounds. There also are neighbors to ask to check the house for...something, light timers to set, water to shut off, and plenty of generic cigarettes to purchase.
My Mother has to be sure to schedule her wash and set at the last possible moment so that she can minimize the number of times she will have to wash her hair and actually fix it herself here. She also has a slew of appointments to reschedule with doctors, charitable organizations, bridge clubs, and book clubs, regardless of when she is leaving. Oh, and do not ask her to throw a bag of clothes together quickly, packing requires weeks of lists, weather tracking, phone calls about potential outings, and careful consideration of what can best be "dressed up or dressed down."
My parents are really, really good at a lot of things, but being fast is not one of them. It's just not their thing. I understand and sort of appreciate that, usually.
So making a trip to Texas can not be taken lightly. It's serious.
Both of my parents are retired so they are flexible with their time, once carefully orchestrated to be away from their home base. Since they have this freedom, and smoking is not permitted on airplanes or in airports, my parents have opted to drive to Texas the last few years.
They take two days and stop at a lot of Cracker Barrels, because what other option is there? It's fantastic. They enjoy the freedom of having their own car and the flexibility of not having to be tied to a plane ticket....and did I mention my Father can smoke wherever he wants to along the way?
Except inside the Cracker Barrel, of course.
I know that the transportation aspect is probably the part of having my parents here for 25 days that least baffles you all, but it seemed like a good place to start. I realize most of you are probably wondering how I don't lose my mind with my parents living here that long.
I love it.
Sure, there are moments when I think if they use the phrase bowel movement (or the fun and fresh lingo "BM,") one more time I might scream. Or when all I want to do is be lazy and I suddenly have my parents all over me about how they thought I wanted to, "get a few things done around here." Then there is the non-stop bickering about error messages on their computer, leaving too many windows open on the screen, and the mysterious moving of icons that could make a few people want to throw their computer out the window, but not (really) me.
I love having them.
Well, we thankfully have a home that is large enough so that it is comfortable for all of us to be here and not feel like we are on top of one another. We used to have a small home and 25 days would not have worked there. No. Freakin'.Way. Here they have their own bedroom and bathroom, there are multiple places to cozy up and read, my Father can watch his shows or take his nap and it just works.
It also helps to have 70 degree weather for a good portion of their stay and a large screened in porch for retreating and a driveway on which my Father can stand, smoke, and harass the neighbors The neighbor harassing keeps my Dad sane so it's simply a sacrifice they are going to have to make for this all to work. Sorry to the hood.
I also like to hang out with my parents. We talk, we do nothing, we go wherever or do whatever, whenever we feel like it and it's glorious. When they are here I'm not alone with the kids all day and well in to the night like I usually am. I feel supported and the moments when I feel flustered and overwhelmed by my kids are so far and few between that I actually enjoy them. I get to enjoy my parents and my children. That is an amazing gift.
Losing Indiana while they were here was even a blessing. My parents loved Indiana, especially my Dad, and it was comforting to know that they understood how hard it was for us. Having my Dad take Indiana to the vet with Alex was such a relief to me. I know he loved him and I love that he got to say goodbye to him.
The best part though is watching my children with them. I absolutely adore watching Stella play dolls with my Mom or pretend to put makeup on my Dad. When Aiden and Cole get back from their regular trips for ice cream with Tractor I feel blessed to have parents that are so involved with my kids. By staying almost a month at a time, my kids really get to know my parents. You change a relationship so much by living with someone for that long....which is why we do it a few times a year.
Do my parents annoy me? Sure.
Do I annoy them? I would be shocked, but I suppose there is a tiny, slight possibility that I could be less than 100% wonderful all the time. Maybe.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Stella has been looking for them the last few days, a bit confused when I ask her where they are. She usually just points outside, I assume she things Grandma must be out there smoking with Tractor. I asked her today while I was trying to catch her to put her back in to her carseat after the gym.