The time is 1:22 am.
I should be in bed. Instead I’m reclined on my parents couch listening to this song that fits my mood this evening.
The kids are sleeping on the guest bed; their legs and arms twisted together like a German pretzel. Only my dog is awake to keep me company. And the second I stop rubbing her ears she’ll roll over and begin to snore.
We’ve spent the week with my parents in the home in which i grew up. It looks just the same down to the hole in the bathroom door I kicked in while wearing cowboy boots about 20 years ago.
I left Ogden for Seattle in 1994. I don’t know why I expect the town to remain the same, yet I’m always surprised when one of my old hangouts disappears. I wonder if I’ve changed as much as the town has?
Two people who haven’t changed are my father and mother. My father still wakes and retires early while my mom stays up late reading anything she can get her hands on. They both seem relaxed and content. Their 18 grandchildren keep them busy and entertained. As we sat together in the kitchen thumbing through old yearbooks and news articles my grandfather collected, I thought to myself how lucky I am to have such amazing parents.
I visited my grandmother tonight at the care home. She held my hand as my father wheeled her down the hallway to her room. It took a moment to sink in that she was in a wheelchair. We chatted for a few minutes before saying goodbye. In the back of my mind, I wonder if each visit will be the last.
While everyone but me was running errands this afternoon, I sat on the front porch. The same porch that served as a reprieve when I’d upset a sibling or parent. I spent many hours on that porch chatting with girlfriends knowing my oldest sister could see my every move through the kitchen blinds.
As I sat there on the porch, a warm gust of wind blew petunia petals across my father’s immaculate lawn. My parent’s wind chimes danced in the air creating notes that made the neighbor’s bulldog bark.
As I stood up to go back inside, I swear I caught a glimpse of my sister’s eyes staring back at me.