My youngest of four will be leaving for college soon enough, and I suppose, as difficult as it is to say, I don't know how many more years my parents will have with us.
Last year we took an extended weekend trip with my parents because my father in particular cannot travel on his own. My mother has a driver's license but really doesn't drive much, and he can't do it on his own. It would be risky at this point for them to take off anywhere for long on their own. So my dad noticed in the AAA magazine a driving tour through a section of West Virginia. Ed and I decided to find a long weekend and made it happen. We had a great time.
That prompted us to invite them to travel to the gulf coast of Florida with us last year at the beginning of summer. As a child, my parents and some friends of theirs vacationed at a small family-owned motel on Madeira Beach. We went for years each summer. They became friends with the owners of the motel which turned into a years-long friendship. Their friends are retired now, my parents had not seen them in a very long time, and I know they just never thought they would return to Florida ever again. They were a little nervous about all the work it takes to prepare and withstanding the heat, but it worked and we had a wonderful time. Again, they (and Ed and I) really didn't know if it could happen again.
It is happening again. I am writing from somewhere near Macon, Georgia, on our way to Sanibel Island, Florida, a spot my parents actually have never visited although it is within two hours of the area where we used to vacation. I will try to report on our fun over the next few days. There are eight of us...three of our girls and a boyfriend. There should be lots to share.
I am so blessed and thankful to God to have my parents with me, particularly my father, since staying healthy has been a challenge for him for the past 27 years, when he suffered a heart attack shortly before Ed and I were married and in fact could not attend our wedding. That is another story for another time perhaps, but I am so grateful that he has been around to see the birth of all four of my children, seen them through grade school, high school, and into college.
My parents ask me why in the world I would want to drag them along, and all I can do is assure them that we truly want to do this with them and for them. It is giving us a great deal of pleasure to see them happy and enjoying themselves.