Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Back in the US

First, let me say that all went well with my father's surgery and he is recovering.
We went to Florida first, to be with my dad, and three days after his surgery, we drove up to Ohio to spend time with our kids and untangle paperwork that winds itself around 20-something year-olds throughout the year.
The night before we left for Ohio, I kissed my dad goodnight, knowing we would leave in the dark of the morning while everyone else was still asleep, and he said, "It means the world to me that you were here for my procedure."
So I guess that's that. Sometimes just being here is enough.
And the good news came yesterday that he can be finished with his IV antibiotic treatment because the infection in his foot is gone. It won't be long now before Dad is floating in the pool -- allowed to get his foot wet -- or on the golf course across the street putting yellow balls into that little cup.

After we got home from France, the first thing I wanted to do is a juice cleanse. I'd really been indulging in delicious and decadent French foods for nearly 10 months, and the light in my parents' guest bathroom made me look a bit yellow, like maybe my liver was going, but Earl assures me it is just the light.
But before I juiced, I wanted to revisit, two things that I missed in the States -- my Starbucks mocha and an everything bagel with cream cheese. Luckily, we combined these two by sitting outside at Starbucks with a Panera nearby.
The white mocha was so sickeningly sweet that I nearly couldn't drink it. The everything bagel was just okay. And I think that's the way things happen. You imagine them, even crave them, and once you take that first bite, that first sip, well the dream of it was so much better than the actuality.

And I think the same may be true for how much our kids longed to have us home.
Not our kids -- but Earl's nieces kids playing in the leave. Always happy to visit with them
How long does it take for adult children to have enough of their parents after they've been out of the country for a year? About five days seems to have done it.
Unfortunately, for them, we're still here eight days later, trying to get a few more pieces of paperwork untangled.
A family dinner to celebrate our return and Spencer's 25th birthday.
That's Grace's boyfriend Jack on the right, the rest are ours
The first few days after we arrived in Ohio, we were the hottest ticket in town. We passed out French chocolate. We took them to dinner. We shared stories. We met them for lunch as they raced over from work.
By Friday night, we had a family game night and pizza. How did we have a game night when we have no home, you may ask? Through the kindness of our very generous friends Deb and Greg who have taken us in to their home, letting us treat it as our own as the kids come and go.
That night, I had to teach at 8 p.m., but I imagined the games and the conversation would continue when I went upstairs to teach. We made it to about 7:45 before everyone wandered off to their own plans.
Tucker headed to New York for the weekend to watch the Columbus Crew SC in a playoff soccer game. 
Tucker and friends at an earlier soccer game -- picture thanks to my friend Leah who snaps pictures of the kids whenever she sees them around town and then sends them to me
Grace was managing a play that pitted various Shakespearean characters in fights and had she began working on it at 9 a.m. Saturday and it lasted until the play ended that night. Spencer hung out with us until after the OSU football game, about 4 p.m.
I cleared my schedule on Sunday, after a morning walk with friends, so I could spend the day with Grace. She had an audition, and the day turned into 6:30 p.m. when she and Jack joined us for soup and some rounds of euchre. Our place in the pecking order had fallen into natural order.
A cold, beautiful morning for a walk around Antrim Lake
On Monday, we didn't even try to get together with them, and everyone seemed ready to move on with their regular lives. I walked with Sheila, one of the things I've really missed doing since we went away. We seem to accomplish so much therapy when we walk and sip coffee.
Tucker kept in touch as he drove home from New York, and Grace talked about Christmas plans by text, but really, they're over us.
And it's nice to know that as much as they wish we were here, they really only need us as a safety net, when they want to see us. Some of my guilt about leaving them is relieved.
We'll drive back to Florida in the next couple of days and spend more time with my parents. We'll see the kids again for Christmas, and I'll leave my mixed feelings behind when we fly back to France in January.
They're grown ups. It's nice to have parents around, but they don't need us -- most of the time.

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