Today we get back to real life. And it’s pretty real. That handsome gentleman next to my lovely wife is my father-in-law. They’re on stage at the Grand Ol’ Opry standing on the circle of wood from the stage at the old Ryman Auditorium. Seeing a smile on his face is not unusual, but being with Carla at that particular place probably made the whole exercise a lot easier.
We get back home today. I’ll be surprised if Carla spends more than a couple of hours there before she gets in her car to drive to her hometown in Central Illinois. Dad’s having some health issues. He landed in the hospital last Saturday and her brother has taken the vast majority of the load this week. Carla is heading up immediately. I have some work stuff to deal with and won’t be able to get up there until Thursday sometime. The whole family will converge over the long weekend. That’s how we roll. It’s a good thing.
Dad’s going to be OK. That’s not in doubt. Living arrangements are going to have to be different, but it’s all very do-able. In many, many ways we are all fortunate. It’s all going to be very busy, but, in the end, things will be OK. It’s impossible not to be thankful for that.
Both of my parents are gone, as is Carla’s mom. My father-in-law is the last parental figure we have left. There’s no reason to think we don’t have several more years left with him, but it’s important to us that we do everything we can. There is utterly nothing unique about the situation we’re in. Anyone our age is either dealing with something similar, will be dealing with something similar soon or has already been there and done that. We are luckier than most. Plans have been made and nothing has happened to ruin them. The financial meltdown was a bump, not a chasm.1
Usually when we get back from a trip there’s a little time to decompress. That’s part of the function of the long drive. There’s something about getting into a metal tube in one place and getting out in another a few hours later that’s both miraculous and disconcerting. The drive helps you maintain a sense of place even as it changes constantly. This time our usual routine will be interrupted. Things will not go as they usually go. We’ll make it up as we go along and do the best we can.
Oh. And it’s apparently snowing back in Cincinnati. That ought to be fun.
That’s life. And we’re back to it.
1Thank God the bankers weren’t inconvenienced by the whole financial meltdown. That would have been awful.