I have so many posts in my head for this little blog. And yet, I continue to be tardy and (maybe) a little bit lazy about putting my thoughts into words. I’m still unpacking and organizing and all that moving stuff. So, yeah … that’s my excuse. Yep. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! Rawr.
My parents are coming for a visit. They, along with the rest of my family and most of my husband’s family, live in Texas. It’s a little over a thousand miles from our new town to where my parents live in the Texas Hill Country. A thousand miles that, to my homesick Texas Girl heart, feels more like a gazillion. An insurmountable distance. My beloved Texas hills might as well be on the moon for how much I miss them.
It’s not that I dislike our new town. On the contrary, I like it. It is a good size for me, with traffic that isn’t crazy and people who are unfailingly polite and friendly. It reminds me a lot of my parents’ town and of San Antonio, the city I called home when I lived in Texas. But not San Antonio from 2019. Instead, our new town reminds me of San Antonio from my high school days. It might not seem like it, but this is a good thing. Illinois hasn’t been the most welcoming state, due to all the red tape, taxes, and bureaucracy surrounding every detail of life here. But I feel I can eventually be very much at home in our new town.
But I still miss the place I’m from. There is a lot of value and weight to those words: the place I am from. My Texas hills will live in my heart and soul for the rest of my life, no matter where I choose to lay my head and no matter what winding road I travel. One day, maybe I will get to go back home for good. If I am lucky.
But this post isn’t about my homeward longings or my wandering life. It’s about my parents. So …
As I said, they are coming for a visit. It will be their first visit to our new town and our new house. I have all kinds of nerves about this. It’s silly, because they have seen me at my best and at my worst. And they still claim me. But it’s nerve-wracking to know people you love are coming to visit before you are unpacked and settled into a new place. I only just got the guest room ready. The bed we ordered arrived just in time, and I got fresh linens onto it last night. I got some pretty curtains up in the room, and one cute little night stand. I went this morning to get the second nightstand from our local Home Goods store. And the closet is mostly cleared. It’s a small room, but I think they will have enough space for their suitcases and such. I hope they will be cozy and comfortable in there.
On the plus side, I know they will be more than happy to pitch in and help me get the rest of the boxes unpacked. If I’m lucky, we will get some shelves up and the basement storage somewhat organized. It’s been 17 years since the last time I moved, and my parents aren’t as young as they were. Neither am I, for that matter! Time marches forward and takes all of us along for the ride. I’m not sure how much they will feel up to doing, but having the moral support will help, at any rate.
There will be one bone of contention between us. I know it already. My closet is a mess. It is beyond a mess. I’ve been so busy getting the rest of the house unpacked and fixed for my family that I basically tossed my clothing into the closet and left it. I can’t even get in there. My mom is going to want to help me clean it. Which will, inevitably, lead to a discussion about how she hates all my clothes and the way I dress. And that will, inevitably, lead to her offering to buy me some “pretty” clothes. This translates to clothing that she likes, but that I, typically, do not like. No matter how much I’m looking forward to seeing them, I am also dreading this. There. I said it. I feel much better getting it out of my head.
So, the closet situation is one source of nerves.
My parents’ mode of transportation is another. They decided to drive. They’ve been planning this trip for at least a month, and I have been worried about it ever since my dad announced they were going to pull out their Garmin and a new road atlas and tackle the highways and by-ways of the US.
My parents are both in their eighties, and I think it’s been about twenty years since the last time they tackled a long-distance road trip. It’s not that they aren’t capable people. They are. They are self-sufficient, in great health, and have been “adulting” since they were teenagers. And yet … I can’t help but worry. I’m not sure when that switch ticks into place, but at some point, kids start to feel responsible for their parents. For me, I guess that happened around the time my daughter was born. It’s difficult to explain, but it suddenly felt like I needed to take care of them. Maybe it’s a “mom” thing gone into overdrive. I don’t know.
Anyhow … that leads us here. My parents, their little Toyota RAV loaded with stuff, and a thousand-plus miles of blacktop. I hate the idea that they are out there, wandering in the wilds of the world. What if something happens to them? What if they get lost? What if they encounter too much traffic? They are from a small town, after all. What if? What if? What if?
Of course, I’m being silly. “Borrowing trouble,” as my dad says. My mom just called. They stopped over last night in Little Rock and had a grand time eating out and staying in a motel. They are now about a hundred miles outside of St. Louis, which puts them about 260-ish miles from our town. And they are loving the adventure.
And you know what? My heart feels happy. Because, even though they are in their eighties, it seems like my parents have rediscovered some of their youth and fun. And, really, isn’t that what we are all looking for? That eternal fountain of youth? Maybe it’s there … waiting inside of us … ready to be discovered.