...and so are my parents. My sister just called to tell me that Mom and Dad are going to drive their 'tin can on wheels,' 12,000 feet (is that right, sis?) through the mountains of New Mexico to visit Roswell, New Mexico. They will park their RV there. I don't know how we came to this point. We come from simple, farming people on my dad's side (my mom's side is a bit of a different story.) My dad's father was an Evangelical minister who did tent revivals throughout Missouri and farmed on the side. My grandmother was a teacher in a one room school house, which my dad attended with 3 other pupils. Throughout my childhood Dad had a number of careers (usually simultaneously.) He was the senior product engineer for a major company, architect in the evening, and he owned an apartment complex and several restaurants. He mowed the lawn twice a week and often would sit outside and watch the grass grow. Mom stayed home with us and sold real estate on the side, never missing any event. Dinner was on the table every night at 6pm. The height of excitement in our family was barbecuing with friends who observed the grass with Dad while enjoying a couple of martini's, while we kids played badminton or roller skated in our basement.
They have changed.
Dad started smoking when he turned 65. He seems to really enjoy it. When I quit smoking, adding to my mother's disappointments; she felt I failed her. Luckily, Dad picked up the slack for me and by some accounts, smokes all of the time, much to Mom's relief. They love the casinos and often go to Mexico for various medical treatments. This always makes me nervous. Mom says not to worry as "all of the illegals" are so nice. Their dentist even offered to pick them up at the border one time if dad couldn't walk that far. She said the only time she felt a "little apprehensive," was when she was smoking in an alley behind the doctor's office and several gentleman wanted to borrow a cigarette. Uh, yeah. Always the lady, my mother gave one to everyone (cigarettes are cheap in Mexico) and she always has an extra carton or two, under the rifle and hatchet in their trunk.
This may came as no surprise to those who have known us for years, who may have seen it coming on. I'm guessing the change was so gradual, that's why I can't put my finger on the pivotal point we turned into actual circus people. For my children this is normal, but it is so different from what I imagined. I imagined my parents growing old gracefully, sipping drinks on the porch,and my children running through the same soft, grass that I ran across; every one's future defined. Neat, tidy, roles we would play. Now, the truth is so out there, I am confused. My role has changed because their role has. Sometimes it's hard to keep up (I do like a good script to know what will come next. ) Maybe this is what my parents are defying. They don't want to know what will come next. That would mean they were done. So maybe in an effort to prolong their destiny, they have decided to change it.
So, Roswell, here they come. There is some comfort for me in knowing, to the aliens of Roswell, should they encounter any, Mom and Dad's behavior will set the standard. They will be the baseline against which other humans can be judged. We will again be normal. I can't wait to hear what happens when Mom offers the aliens a smoke.