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April 25, 2009

Chris’ parents Marilyn and Ken came up for Elizabeth’s birthday. It was a good day. The weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy some time outside in the backyard with them. My Dad made the trek also. Grama Carolyn came over to join us the next day. My brother Dylan was also in town checking out the college situation and managed to grace us with his presence for a few hours here and there. Side note: we’re looking forward to this summer when Dylan will be moving over here! It will be nice to have him in town and we really hope it means a bit more time with brother/uncle Dylan!!

Anyhow, as our tradition dictates, the birthday girl got to choose the dinner location. Elizabeth’s choice? As usual, Chuck E. Cheese was the destination. Oh goody. I’m sparing you the photos. But Elizabeth received a lovely little pile of presents: new Barbie, new books, new jump rope and Littlest Pet Shop (from her brother), a new purse, earrings and some jewlery. For already having received her present of a summer pass to our downtown park, and her first pedicure (ever!) yet to come, plus her joint birthday party with John, and the big joint present from Mom and Dad, I have to say that she made out quite well thankyouverymuch. As for Chuck E? Just sufice it to say that the kids had a GREAT time and the adults all had fun watching our kids. We just don’t get to see our parents as often as we’d like, so it was nice to have three of them here with us to celebrate.

It’s funny how we spend so many years just waiting to get out of our childhood home and away from our parents, and then at some point (if we’re lucky) we realize that we don’t want to push them away any longer. I can’t speak for my husband, but I know I certainly spent a good deal of time pushing. I am so very grateful that when I was ready to stop pushing my Dad was still there, waiting for me. Of course he was. He is a parent. A darned good one, at that. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no matter what happens… when push comes to shove I will be waiting for my children the same way my Dad was for me. I don’t know how hard Chris felt he had to push away from his parents. His relationship with his parents was a mite easier and more comfortable than mine. But I do know that we both felt that natural need to separate from our childhood and parents in order to stretch out on our own and become a bit more of who we are today.

Our visits with Chris’ parents seem to become more bittersweet each time we see them. His parents are older than mine and consequently have more health issues than mine. His Mom suffered a heart attack this past year and has been recovering ever since. His (step)Dad suffers from dementia. We see progression with each visit. It is sad to see. It breaks my heart to know that some day probably sooner than later the kids won’t have the Grampa A. that they know now. They already notice a difference. ‘Why don’t Grama and Grampa stay a long time anymore when they visit?’ ‘Why doesn’t Grampa play with me anymore?’ Watching him just stand there or sit there becoming more and more consumed inside his own head and less and less able to cope with the outside world is sad beyond words. This is no longer the man I met as my boyfriend’s(!) Dad nearly 12 years ago. I am so glad that I myself, have many good memories of him and with him that I will be able to recall for myself and the children. William will most likely not. Chris and I cringe at their choices in diet, exercise and socializing… but also know that we can only try to suggest (push) different avenues, the choice is ultimately theirs to make and we just continue to love them. The picture above makes me smile, but a sad smile, you know?

I have my iTunes playing on the computer while I’m typing tonight and, what a fit, the song “The Secret of Life” by James Taylor is playing… “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time… Isn’t it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down, try not to try to hard, it’s just a lovely ride.” Isn’t it though? Life is a lovely ride. All of it. We push away, we come back. If we’re lucky enough, we have our own that will push away and at some point, that will come back. As parents we will push our children… to become better, stronger, more faithful, towards all that is important. And if we’ve done it right, we can only hope that when the time comes, they will come back to push us. To push us to continue to be there, to be strong, to be faithful, to be here -with them, for as long as possible.

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