OK, guys, hang on tight while I suddenly shift gears.
I’ll try to answer the questions many of you posted in the comments yesterday and the day before… but if I can’t get to them right away, I beg forgiveness. I leave at 6:30 tomorrow morning to fly to Florida to help my parents move back North. (Beloved Husband follows on Saturday. He’s the lucky guy who gets to drive the truck.)
I’m calling this Operation Elder Caravan.
My parents are …. well, there is no other way to say it – they’re old. Dad is 78 and in pretty good shape except for his knees don’t work so good and every once in a while he gets gout which hurts A LOT and makes simple things like standing up and walking almost impossible. He tries to keep his spirits up by repeating to himself that gout is a disease of kings (Henry VIII of England had it), but somehow that doesn’t quite take all the pain away. Mom is 74 and no one is sure why she is still alive. She has metastasized breast cancer, a damaged heart, coronary artery disease, and emphysema. If any of you need motivation to quit smoking, I would be happy to have you spend five minutes with my mom. Her last years have been very painful and depressing, and it’s due to her lifelong cigarette habit. She started smoking when she was 17, and smoked for four years after she was diagnosed with emphysema, and quit only when they put her on oxygen 24/7… and then only because they pointed out that an open flames near oxygen would blow up the trailer. (DON’T SMOKE! DON’T SMOKE!) My mom is as tough (and stubborn) as they come.
So this trip is sad in some ways. And scary – I am petrified by the thought that one or the other will have a heart attack when we’re stuck in traffic. (My rational brain knows the chances of that happening are very small, but my disaster-driven irrational brain is in charge these days.)
Some of you might be asking – why drive from Florida to NY with two ornery, sick, old people? Why not fly?
Because if you are on oxygen a) very few airlines will accommodate you and b) doctors only advise direct flights. The logistics just wouldn’t work.
Except for the part where I’m afraid they’re going to die on me, I’m looking forward to this. Heaven knows I’ve had a lot of issues with my parents. But I am who I am because of them, and I owe them both a great deal. They are the ones who taught me to laugh when things get tough, they taught me to put family and God first, and that a life of integrity is the only life worth leading. They still say and do things that make me want to roll my eyes, stomp out of a room, and slam a door like a thirteen-year-old, but I irritate them, too. It’s part of the package. Mostly, I’m grateful they have lived long enough to watch their grandchildren grow, and to give my sister and me the opportunity to take care of them.
Please remind of the above paragraph when I write an entry in this journal that is just “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! THEY’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”
Parents are weird.