Had a lovely walk on the beach this week with our 21, almost 22, year old daughter. We had to step carefully to avoid the man-o-war jellyfish that had blown up onto the sand in the stiff offshore breeze. Gen was lamenting the poor creatures demise and particularly the bitty ones that she called ‘boys of war’ who did not even get to survive to adulthood. They were about an inch in diameter and seemed so fragile, yet are so dangerous. Her phrase and her empathy made me smile. Life is precious – even a jellyfish! This child of mine is passionate about life, about sustainability, about reducing homelessness, about many subjects. What a joy to share this time by the ocean. Another day at the beach we giggled uncontrollably as the wind pelted us with tiny stinging grains of sand. At the pool, we lay in the sun and had a long heart-to-heart. Connecting with this beautiful young woman who lives so far from us is a rare treat and I cherished our short time together. Finding serenity together as we laughed, celebrated, reminisced and enjoyed time outdoors.
Being able to find your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night in the dark with your eyes closed in a house that is not your own! Visiting my mom and dad this week and as I crawled back into bed I reflected that they may soon move to a retirement home and this may be my last visit to this familiar, comfortable house. Although it is not the home I grew up in, it is one that I have grown to love and will miss. I’m so thankful to have known this house and this place and enjoyed annual vacations here in sunny Florida. Change is coming. Seasons change and my parents are aging. Their new place will be smaller and won’t have room for the whole family to visit.
As I contemplate this new future, I try not to worry about my parents. Dad is sometimes confused and mom can be forgetful; so having them live many miles away is not easy. I want to be able to help with the little things like figuring out the TV remote or solving computer issues. These are not things that I can fix long distance. And I want to be able to help with bigger things like health care and finances. It’s on my mind almost every day; I know that they won’t be with us forever and I want to be able to spend more time with them in their waning years. I’m torn between my life, my church family, my husband’s family, my job, my friends, and this desire to be available to my parents. Trying to choose serenity and find ways to be present in their lives more often.