My parents, as I said below, were visiting. They left Monday morning. My dad was finally overcome with the urge to move. He was tired of sitting here and doing nothing for several days, so he was in a big hurry to go to my sister’s and sit and do nothing there. They had to leave Monday, and I MEAN THEY HAD TO LEAVE, on a holiday. They are on their way to Minneapolis. I hope my sister is ready.
It will take them two days to get to Minneapolis. They’ll probably stop for the night in the Kansas City area. My dad has many relatives in the KC area. I doubt he’ll call any of them. As he said, you can’t just call and visit one of them, you have to see them all, or somebody’s feelings will be hurt. (The thought of my father not visiting someone resulting in hurt feelings is kind of funny.)
My parent’s visit was one awkward moment after another. We have never really fleshed out the bounds of expectations around their visit. To be so frank with one another would be a ground breaking development within my family (I expect so in many others too). I am, after their departure, left with the vague feeling that I did not meet their expectations for the visit.
It’s tough to tell though. My dad has no interests. When I say no interests, I mean no interests. Oh, I guess he has one interest; he wants to know what you pay in property taxes. I think he was made most uncomfortable by the fact that we don’t have any traditional TV to watch. We ditched cable and satellite over a year ago. The day he got here he was talking about the show “The Biggest Loser.” I guess I set the tone for the visit by asking him why in the world he would waste his time on such a show. He seemed a little miffed that he was going to miss the season finale.
Things weren’t much better with my mother. There is a lot to unpack in my relationship with my mother; too much for my meager writing skills. She’s a 12 stepper. She falls off the wagon regularly, or better, irregularly, so you never know what to expect. She’s also a drama queen. Even when sober, she expects to be in the center of the action. This has been the case since my teen years. I’m kind of tired of the whole act. There have been adventures along the way that have almost caused me to cut her out of my life completely. Luckily, we had no such episodes on this visit.
(My brothers and sisters seem to be able to put up with her crap better than me. They are, at least, more tolerable of her drunkenness. I am the only to through her out of my house and tell her to never come back. This was years before she, completely hammered, took my 2 year old son to the neighbor’s pool. I think I am generous of spirit in this regard.)
They did get to see their grandson graduate from 8th grade (a big deal for us Catholics). They also were there when he was awarded his scholarship for high school. That should make them happy, for the most part anyway.
Since the day my parents arrived and now, especially, since they are gone, I have been wondering what makes for good guests. I have been wondering what will keep my children from dreading my arrival when they have lives of their own in the future.
I guess the biggest thing to do is to have a plan. I think my parents would be more enjoyable to have visit if they had an actual plan for what they were going to do while here. This is something I can do better the next time they are here. They need to have specific activities on the calendar. I also need to make clear statements that we have other stuff going on (like work) when we are not scheduled to be with them. They should not expect me to entertain them, they should entertain themselves.