So who told me that it would be a good idea to spend four days in some hillbilly mansion in the woods with my parents? Who was it? Cause I’m going to tell that person to go to Hell. In a hand basket even.
So yeah, my four days away from it all wasn’t nearly as relaxing as I’d hoped it would be. Sure, it was great getting away. We got to walk around and look at expensive, hand made, hand woven, and hand carved items. We ate some fabulous homemade ice cream, grilled some burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and even had a taco fiesta that was muy bueno. I drank way too many local brews one night and fortified my reputation as a hell of a pool player. There was also that little thing of visiting Landlocked Music, Corner Book Store, and Phoenix Comics in the always excellent Bloomington, Indiana. We had a nice dinner at Big Woods Pizza in downtown Nashville, and afterwards I got to see a couple $75 copies of first edition Kurt Vonnegut books at some dinky bookstore off the beaten path.
So what’s the problem?
The problem was that even at 41 years old I still felt like I was 12 years old with my mom and dad. I certainly don’t think that’s how my mom and dad see me. It just felt like for most of the time my mom was constantly looking for something to clean or pick up, or worry about some thing or the other thing. My dad, on the other hand, seemed pretty good to just go with the flow. He would’ve been happy lying in his king-size bed watching the same TV shows he would watch from his giant leather chair in his own living room. My mom gave the impression that she was enjoying herself, but since I’m her son and we are a lot alike I could see the furrowed brow. I could see the wheels turning inside of her head. As the kids laughed and played in the oversized hot tub on the deck she was thinking “They better not run the jets in that thing or else it’s gonna break. Then we’ll be responsible for that.” Or within 5 minutes of arriving, as we were putting our groceries away she was certain she found mouse feces in the pantry. “Better not use that”, she said as I went to put some cans away. “Well you’d think they’d have a key to open the bedroom doors in case something like this happens”, she shared as my son informed me he locked himself out of him and his sister’s bedroom. A call to the office fixed the situation, but still. OF COURSE I’M THINKING THE SAME DAMN THING, BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO STATE THE OBVIOUS, MA!!
Let me be very clear here: I love my parents with all my heart. They are the kindest, most giving people I know. They would do anything for someone they love, and they have helped me out so much over the years. No questions asked. My wife and I love getting together with my mom and dad, having dinner, having some drinks, and playing euchre. We’ve spent New Year’s Eve with my mom and dad for the last several years and we have a blast. I just think, for the mere fact that they are a lot like my wife and I in that they are very much creatures of habit, you throw them out of their comfort zone you can just watch the anxiety build. Four days away from the comfort of home with five other people that you normally love being around is enough to cause anyone to get a little crazy. I’m sure they were as thrown off as my wife and I were.
We did have fun together, don’t get me wrong. And the kids loved having grandma and grandpa along to hang out with. We even had cake and ice cream for my mom’s 66th birthday on July 2nd. It was nice. And it was great waking up every morning(except for Wednesday morning…that morning was painful…damn IPAs) and enjoying a cup of coffee with my dad. We’ve made Saturday mornings a “share a cuppa/father and son” kind of tradition now, so that felt like home to me. And my mom was pretty amazed at the lovely Eagle’s Nest Lodge we stayed at. Plus, my mom and dad got to see me in my natural habitat: a record store. I have to admit it was kind of weird leafing through stacks of vinyl as my mom and dad perused and talked amongst themselves. If ever there was a time I felt like a gawky teen, it was at that moment. Still, they were champs for waiting around.
So now that I got all that off my chest, I have to say I love spending time with my mom and dad. Maybe just not four straight days with them(I’m sure the feelings are mutual.) At least when it’s just me, the wife and kids away there’s no expectations to keeping anyone entertained or amused. When it’s just the five of us we can just let it all hang out and be frumpy and natural. We do what we do and that’s that. Like it or lump it.
Next year, I think we’re doing something different. I’ve had my fill of forests and Daniel Boone decor. I’m thinking a bungalow, sand in the front yard, and a view of the ocean. Somewhere I can get a nice, glowing burn all over my pasty body.
Yeah, that’s ticket.