Leaving

Philadelphia airport is quiet today. There are plenty of people around but no noise. Odd.

 

I’m on my way back to my new home, which is worlds away from my original home in suburban Philadelphia. My parents are still here – healthy and well, playing tennis, climbing ladders (although if you’re reading this, ma, I hope you’ll stop RIGHT NOW!) and living in the same place I grew up in. I told a friend of mine once that my parents were coming to visit and she said you mean, you like your parents?! Her question confused me. Of course I do, I thought. Apparently she didn’t like her's so much.

 

After I’d packed-up my suitcase full of books, I jerked it downstairs and into my car while my dad was distracted with something else. If I hadn’t, he would have done it himself. This is the kind of thing I worry about. Truth is, he’s capable of moving it, but I don’t want my suitcase to be the reason he topples over and breaks a hip. Yesterday I came into the kitchen and my mother (mid 80s) was on the top step of her kitchen ladder returning her best plates to the highest shelf of the cupboard. Seeing her there made me nauseous so I turned away and looked out the window instead. When I thought about it later, I thought, well, would falling from a ladder be the worst way for things to end? She’s happy. She’s had a good, full, and inspiring life…

 

While I was home, I bought Roz Chast’s memoir called Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. I was reading it in the living room one night with my parents across from me on either side of the fireplace. I was laughing so hard reading it that Da wondered what was so funny. I showed him the book and within minutes he was laughing too. That surprised me. Roz’s memoir is all cartoons that describe her relationship with her parents as they decline, move from their Brooklyn apartment of 50+ years, and into an assisted living place. It’s funny but it’s also not so funny. She makes the hard stuff easy to digest.

 

When I got into my car to leave, my parents stood on the front porch watching me put on my sunglasses, start it up, and drive away. I waved enthusiastically as I pulled out, wanting to say I love you I love you I love you out loud, but the windows were closed and it’s also not the family style. 100 yards later I made a wrong turn because it was so hard to leave. I’m pretty sure I’ll see them again. They’re strong and full of life; but there are no guarantees. Truth of the matter is that my mom and my dad and all the people who have come from their marriage, are my favorite people in the world.   

5 comments

  • Cack
    Cack
    typo in the 2nd paragraph. Her vs. her's? hers? They ARE wonderful, aren't they? I think it's harder for you because you see them so rarely so you are not so confident that you will see them again. My own opinion is we've got some time. Hope your trip was smooth.

    typo in the 2nd paragraph. Her vs. her's? hers?

    They ARE wonderful, aren't they? I think it's harder for you because you see them so rarely so you are not so confident that you will see them again. My own opinion is we've got some time. Hope your trip was smooth.

  • Esther Frances
    Esther Frances
    What a blessing to have such a family. I definitely can empathize with that feeling of departure.....As always, I appreciate your honesty. I am sooo loving when my Pandora shuffle brings on your beautiful voice and songs. I love hearing you. Please give me advance notice next time you visit SC!

    What a blessing to have such a family. I definitely can empathize with that feeling of departure.....As always, I appreciate your honesty.

    I am sooo loving when my Pandora shuffle brings on your beautiful voice and songs. I love hearing you. Please give me advance notice next time you visit SC!

  • Monica
    Monica
    Hi Bar, Welcome back--I noticed your absence--hope you had a good trip! I recently read Roz Chantz's memoir too (a friend recommended it). Her approach is definitely unusual, but I appreciate her validating some of the same issues and feelings I've been facing. It helped me feel calmer somehow. Now I just need to pop one of your CD's in my player and I'll be set. :)

    Hi Bar,
    Welcome back--I noticed your absence--hope you had a good trip!
    I recently read Roz Chantz's memoir too (a friend recommended it). Her approach is definitely unusual, but I appreciate her validating some of the same issues and feelings I've been facing. It helped me feel calmer somehow. Now I just need to pop one of your CD's in my player and I'll be set. smile

  • bar
    bar
    Two typos in the original: 'her' should have been 'her's' in the first full paragraph (although I'm never sure about possessives when we're talking about 'hers' and his's) ??? And in my haste, I had Roz Chast's name wrong. It is Chast not Chantz. So there we go. Thanks for checking on me, Cack.

    Two typos in the original: 'her' should have been 'her's' in the first full paragraph (although I'm never sure about possessives when we're talking about 'hers' and his's) ???
    And in my haste, I had Roz Chast's name wrong. It is Chast not Chantz. So there we go. Thanks for checking on me, Cack.

  • bar
    bar
    Dear Monica and Esther, Thank you so much for writing. I do feel lucky, and even luckier to have you two in my life. Thank you for listening and for taking the time to write. Hope to see you both soon - Esther, maybe later this year in SC??

    Dear Monica and Esther, Thank you so much for writing. I do feel lucky, and even luckier to have you two in my life. Thank you for listening and for taking the time to write. Hope to see you both soon - Esther, maybe later this year in SC??

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