“Back when I was a kid” automatically places my soul and mentality (not necessarily my body) in a different age bracket, but I’ve come to accept it.
Thus, back when I was a kid, it seems people cherished time more than today. Maybe it is all just based on personal experiences, for isn’t that often how it’s done? As a child, my grandmother lived in the finished basement of our house. I would spend many summers with her while my parents worked, and even during the school year, I always made it a point to go down and visit each evening for a time. I did the things most every kid does with a grandparent. I watched The Price is Right with Bob Barker. Except my experience was better. “Granny” talked on the phone all day and so would record the show. She would end up watching it 3–4 times to combine all the missed portions, and there I was having seen it all every time. Can you believe I even watched soap operas with her? The fact that I have a decent working knowledge of Susan Lucci proves my point. In short, I loved our time together. My other grandparents lived hours away, and while we visited, we just didn’t get the same opportunities; regardless, I loved and cherished all those times.
Fast forward roughly 25 years (my granny died in 1998), and I’ve realized my childhood is performing an interesting 180 before my eyes. Like many young adults, my wife and I have moved many times in a short number of years. When we landed in Hendersonville, North Carolina, I fell in love with the town. Close to Asheville, but not in it, and a quiet place, rich with culture, to reside. It worked for a bit. Then our daughter was born. I noticed, most every weekend, one set of parents would travel to see us. And let’s be honest, each year that goes by, the traveling and general doing gets harder. If you haven’t already gathered from my other blog entries, I am a family guy. I care about it more than money, job titles, etc. So it bothered me to have to see everyone traveling to us when clearly we were the most mobile of the family unit. It takes a village — an adage I truly believe — and I wanted the village to be together. I recommended we look at houses in the Hickory area which would put us in the same town as my wife’s parents. We found one, sold in Hendersonville, and made the move with our infant daughter. Life was good. Always brewing in the back of my mind was the next step: Now we work toward getting my parents to Hickory. Now three hours away, it was even harder to see them on a consistent basis. My daughter wasn’t seeing them much, selfishly neither was I, and I just didn’t like it.
Let’s take a step back for a second. Honestly, you just needed a new paragraph. But seriously, here I was thinking I was in control of this plan. Hahaha. The joke was on me. We tried. We tried a lot. We explored apartments. We looked at houses to rent. Nothing. Then, we helped my parents find a house, they went under contract, and then it all fell apart (literally — the inspection showed the house was falling apart at the foundation). What happened? I finally get my parents to get up the courage to go through this process, which hadn’t happened in 40 years, and they don’t get the house, plus they are out the initial due diligence payment. Go figure.
Next? A pandemic. So, here I was, in the midst of this raging virus, thinking to myself, what if we can find a home with a finished basement? Will my wife go for it? If so, I owe her the biggest Starbucks cold coffee ever, plus a new pair of shoes. She went for it (for which I am eternally grateful) and we sold the house last fall. What a great time to do that, right? But remember, control, time, and plan. We moved in with my wife’s parents — eight minutes down the road from the house we had just sold. We stuffed everything into a storage unit and a sunroom and said, “Let the search begin.”
Month after month rolled by. Nothing. And then, something. Insert offer. And nothing. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Then we heard about a 55+ apartment complex. I checked on that, as did my wife, and one day, while I was leaving the apartment’s parking lot (having just learned this option wouldn’t work either), Leeann calls and asks if I can look at a house. It had been on the market three minutes. Yes, of course.
Fast forward. We are closing on that house very soon. It has a finished basement. All processes, inspections, and other necessary requirements have gone smoothly. It’s going to happen. And I might add that it’s even closer to my wife’s parents (her grandmother is in the same neighborhood, too) than our previous home. Pretty soon, we are going to have the glorious headache of moving all this stuff again and then moving my parents. But how beautiful?
And so, being summer and me teaching online, this week my daughter is on her one-week break between school and summer camp. We decided to pack the bags and visit my parents. This morning, I watched my daughter sit with her granny at 11:00 AM, and you guessed it, they watched The Price is Right. It’s Drew Carey now . . . not quite as good in my humble opinion, but still perfect for making memories. I wonder if maybe, in that moment, my granny was watching all of us. I couldn’t help but think about how, soon, it will all be full circle.
We don’t like it, but timing, control, and plans are, more often than not, not up to us. I wanted this to happen so much sooner; many times I felt it never would, yet here we are, maybe just the way it should have happened the entire time.
I can’t offer you a new car, nor can I present a Plinko board, but I know this much:
- Cherish the time you have with people. You never know. God, how we never know.
- Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed and neutered.
- She got the cold coffee. And the shoes. My, the shoes. (Love ya, babe!)