Thursday, April 10, 2014

Retirement Changes

"We're all just walking each other home."
~ Ram Dass

My parents have lived in Bloomington, Illinois for about 24 years. Longer than they have lived anywhere. None of us lived with them in their home there, all grown and gone by the time they moved there. Still, I think of it as home. 

They lived in that house before Derrick was born. We visited there when he was just a baby, going there as often as we could fit into a busy, growing up life. He would ride on the back of the tandem bicycle with Grandpa, feet resting on the make-shift foot rest before he could reach the pedals. During grade school years, Derrick visited there during the summer. He attended Space Camp, went camping with Grandpa, and built model airplanes. When in high school the visits changed a bit. We went for family events, like when Grandpa retired and the funeral service for Great Grandma. Derrick started driving when we went. It was a constant in his life that our own lives didn't provide. Moving, divorce, lots of changes. But Grandma and Grandpa's home was always the same.

Visiting Mom and Dad there was always a special event. Favorite foods, going somewhere I'd never been before, spending time in the garden, laughing while sharing memories of growing up years. I hope that Derrick always feels as special in my home when he returns as an adult. 

About a month ago I was able to take T there for the first time. Even though I never lived there, I thought that would give him a more complete picture of where (who, actually) I'm from.

Dad called the other day. They had just returned from a visit to my sister and brother-in-law in Scottsdale, Arizona. Daddy doesn't usually place the calls. So I was clearly paying attention when I answered the phone. He said the trip to Arizona was great. One morning Mom told him, "I can imagine myself living here." Well, that's all it took! He went to see a realtor that very day. Dom showed them a neighborhood they should look at, just a mile from their winter home. An offer was made and accepted. They are moving! They'll list their house in Bloomington soon. They want each of us to consider taking family pieces we might be interested in, the remainder will go to an estate sale. They'll move some of their favorite things with them and purchase other things they need to complete their home when they relocate. 

Mom and Dad plan to visit the Midwest when the family typically gathers; Independence  Day at the lake, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in Lake Bluff. When they come in the summer we have already discussed the possibility of their visit to our home for a week or so. The idea is that when they come for a longer stay, we will have more quality time together. Hopefully T and I will be able to visit them in their new home once in awhile. 

As my brother said, "They never do anything spontaneous! I'm happy for them, just surprised." 

Both of them have more excitement in their voices than I've heard in a long time. It is a wonderful thing to consider something so new at this point in their lives. It could be something that brings them closer together than they have been in a long time. What a way to start retirement years!

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