I just came back from supper with my parents at Swiss Chalet. It's not a common occurrence any more--Mom and Dad live a good three to four hour drive from where I live now, and I don't see them all that oten.
At dinner, we got talking about how a few of my close friends are going through some very difficult times, and how they don't have, and never had, any significant parental support. I hugged my mom (who was the one sitting next to me), and said to both my parents, "I'm so grateful you're my parents. You may not have done everything right, but you tried your best and you love me."
My heart swelled at that moment. I'm grateful that at fifty years of age, I still have two parents who are still married to one another. I'm especially grateful because I really wasn't expecting to be in this position at this point in my life. Both my grandfathers were dead by the time I reached sixteen, and by the time I was twenty-three, my parents were the elder generation in the family. My kids, by contrast, are twenty, twenty-two and twenty-five, and they still have three grandparents!
Dad, being Dad, used to predict his death. "I've only got twenty years left, tops. Ten years, five years..." He stopped that nonsense a few years back, when he'd outlived even his most generous predicitons. In September, God willing, he's going to be eighty, and even my optimistic self didn't expect a former smoker with high blood pressure and a history of heart disease (he's had a quadruple bypass) to live that long.
Mom, at seventy-five, is beginning to slow down. That means she's no longer chair of fifteen million committees at church and at presbytery. Instead, she's cut it down to one or two. Plus UCW. Plus choir...
I don't know how I got to be this lucky, and I don't know how long it's going to continue. Mom almost died a year and a half ago when her liver got infected, and Dad's mental condition is slowly but obviously heading downhill.
There will come a time, maybe sooner, maybe later, when I will have to face the rest of my life without parents. But this weekend, I have them both with me in the same city. Tomorrow morning, we're going to the market. Tomorrow evening (probably after a good long afternoon nap), we're going out for dinner. I'm going to enjoy my time with them, and make sure they know that they're loved and appreciated too.