I guess every parent has that moment when you know. You know…you did it right. All that ranting about grades, getting to work on time, giving 110% at practice, taking out the trash, picking up their laundry…and so much more…it sunk in and they are decent human beings.
My mother had a stroke three years ago, she currently resides at Oceanview Nursing Home in New Smyrna Beach. I stress out every holiday, what do I do with her? She is confined to a wheelchair, no mobility. All she wants to do is come home, and it is worse since my Dad died in March.
This Thanksgiving my son said “I can transport her”, I thought “Yikes, this is going to be a disaster” Nope, he wrangled her into the truck, took her to the Steakhouse(they were amazingly accommodating), got her out, we had a nice dinner and he took her back. He visits her two or three times a week between his full class schedule at Stetson, his job at Publix and his life. He puts the rest of us to shame.
She asked us about Christmas today, he looked at me and said I will bring her home for Christmas, I said you realize what that means? He said “she is not spending Christmas in a nursing home, that ain’t happening…I got it”
He did get it. Somewhere along the line, this kid got it. I have to remind him to unload the dishwasher but I don’t have to tell him to be respectful to the elderly, to be kind to animals and be generous to the less fortunate. He got it. I hope in some small way I am responsible for that, but truly, I am just glad he got it.
I hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving! I want to spend just a minute or two and offer a few words on one of my favorite holidays.
But first I need to go back to this past weekend. I did what I find myself doing a couple times a month. I go to the storage unit that now houses all of my parents belongings. An entire houseful of stuff. Furniture, lamps, collectibles, books, china, some clothes, hundreds of pictures, memories…and lots more. An entire life housed in a 15 x 20 air conditioned unit with a roll up door. A life that we now have to figure out what to do with.
So I did what I do…walked in picked around a few boxes, found a box or two to take to donate and rolled that door back down and left. It is overwhelmingly sad to think that these great parents, incredible grandparents, funny, nice people’s whole life is in that 15 x 20 air conditioned unit with a roll up door.
Every year since I can remember we have spent Thanksgiving with my parents. I have a picture from every year with my kids, my Dad and the turkey. We have another one of my brother, my dad and my son, marking each year how tall my son was, until he eventually passed his uncle and grandpa. This year there will be no such pictures.
So, I say to you, give thanks for all that you have. Spend that money you work so hard to earn on experiences and not “stuff.” Make memories instead of having “things.”
Chances are one day someone will be trying to figure out what to do with your life, give them more great memories and less boxes.