When I was finishing college and picking a place to live/work, my parents were an easy 4 hour drive from my new job in Orlando. At some point while I was getting settled here, they moved in little further north into western North Carolina. Drives home for Thanksgiving and visits eventually turned into flights home as our budgets allowed and less time in the car meant longer face to face time. Even with the convenience of flights, the older I get, the harder the distance becomes. PC and I have good careers blooming, an affordable house to call our own, and a family growing here. We have no intentions of uprooting, but it’s hard not to get emotional after a visit with my family and ponder the “what ifs”. My dad was here for a visit for this past week, which is where my mushy blog post stems from today. First and foremost, I am grateful I still have both of my parents in my life. Sadly, PC included as one of them, I know far two people who have lost their parents young. My dad had planned his trip earlier in the summer and originally, I had planned on taking a little bit of time off from work, but mostly working half days and leaving him projects to work on at our house (at his request) while I worked. Closer to his arrival, I had a revelation. Trust me when I say I blame the pregnancy hormones, BUT in a heap of hormone induced tears I had a revelation. I decided to take the entire time off while he was here. I have the vacation days fortunately saved up, and I cannot imagine ever looking back and not taking time to spend with my parents when they are able to visit. No one I know that has lost either of their parents has ever said “man, I just spent TOO much time with him/her.” Its memories I won’t forget or regret -of that I’m sure. We ate out, we cleared out the nursery of junk, and we took trips to donate old goods. We hit the beach, we took Bandit to the dog park a couple of times, we replaced busted appliances and most important, we talked. We laughed. We enjoyed each other’s company. I was fortunate enough to share two weeks with my mom in much the same way at Christmas last year and she will be back down here in October. It dawned on me the importance of THIS time right here and now. While we are obviously over the mood excited about the arrival of baby Smith this fall, the reality is that my “youngest daughter” dynamics with my parents will never be the same after the birth. I might not have a chance to have father/daughter or mother/daughter time again one on one. Well I can only believe, the dynamics will be better than ever, they will indeed be different. After November, my parents will never ever visit us again as a family of two, with just our two fur babies. None of us are promised tomorrow, or next month, or a next year but as our parents age, the reality that I can’t have them forever gets more real and more terrifying! I mean, I can’t stop my mind from running. I LOVED the years that I had with my grandparents and the memories I built with them. I drove by my grandmother’s old house yesterday while visiting the beach and couldn’t help but remember all the fun times playing in her backyard–or riding a motorized tandem bike with my Papa (dad’s dad) as a kid. I want my child to get those same memories. I want my child to enjoy the overwhelming love and support I had from my own parents growing up and get spoiled and eaten up in that love.
So there’s that. My emotional spillage of having to put my dad back on a plane last night to NC. What’s my point? Hug your loved ones. Appreciate what you’ve got here in the moment. In a quick blurb of baby update, we’ve crossed the 23 week mark (time still flying) and belly is getting hard to hide. Feeling great still (random pains and lots of heartburn, but nothing I would trade away for this opportunity). Peace, love, and good jujus to you all.