Unexpected Joys; Traveling with Senior Parents

This past weekend I had the opportunity and the good fortune to spend time with my parents on an out of town trip. In my 46 years this was the first time we have done this. The concept of family vacation had eluded us. Anyway, it’s me, my two brothers, mom and dad, and our niece rolling to California to celebrate my oldest brother’s 50th birthday. Again, this is our first trip together ever and boy it was an adventure.

Our parents haven’t reached the age of 70 yet, so getting around was no problem and they have full mental capacity. I say that so you the reader can fully understand what I’m about to talk about. I imagine that your parents are like mine in that they have established routines and habits. They eat and don’t eat certain things. Local dishes be damn. If they don’t eat it, they aren’t trying it. Bedtime is bedtime. They would like to hit that time regardless of where they are or who they are with. The problem is us kids, we want to be in the streets, on the go, sightseeing, taste testing, etc. Taking it slow and easy is just not what “kids” do. In fact our facial expressions indicated a bit of impatience, but what do you do? I’ll tell you, you stay in your place and make haste in the direction mom and pops want to go. Parents rule, no matter how old we get they are in control. A question was posed one more morning; Are we having breakfast together? It was quickly recognized as a riddled, deciphered as, we are having breakfast together, let’s go eat. Up we go without a word.

My parents presence at the party was as impactful as the birthday boy being there. They were received with an equal amount of hugs and compliments from the friends and family in attendance as the man of the hour. They prayed openly in the neo-soul decorated lounge as if it were a sanctuary. They didn’t care if you liked it or not this is what they do. They are themselves all the time. They don’t put on ears, no showmanship, and no guessing of who will show up today, they are simply themselves all the time.

I dare not suggest that the younger folks (their kids in particular) can’t be themselves, but I will say the younger generation can come with less conviction. We may find it ok to break from our norm to conform. Parents however, remain consistent. Never deviating, no waffling, they are steady and you know what’s coming. No guessing. Unless of course they can’t decide on which restaurant for dinner. When that happened the air filled with moans and groans of fully matured, adult children, lacking in patience, opting for the thought of being delayed from getting that refreshing post prohibition beverage. I know I heard a faint cry of are we there yet?

I am extremely grateful that we had this time together. I look forward to doing it again very soon, perhaps with a bit more patience!

Author- David Bowman

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