Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Remote Log Cabin

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today I am typing far (well, two hours, anyway) from the land of chickens, doggies, Captain K-bug and my little espresso machine; I am once more in the blissful log cabin my parents call home. I drank one little cup of drip coffee, haven't cared for any rambunctious animals (except for the children, of course) and haven't so much as chopped an onion in over twenty-four hours. Watching deer romp through the backyard, I sit at my mother's table, drinking pot after pot of tea. I love spending time with my parents here in their post-retirement life. I am still taken aback by how calm their house is now. Mama is no longer the hustling waitress, putting her apron on as I pull into the driveway to pick up my kids. Dad no longer feels the constant strain of an unstable job market. Their schedule is still busy, but it is dictated by social calendars, not an employer's watch. Their lives are run much like dad's favorite new "toy."

Anyone who knows my dad is fully aware that he needs precious little to make him happy; my mother's cooking, a comfy recliner and authority over the remote control. This works wonderfully until my father takes one of his "power naps" with the remote in hand, forcing my mother to watch the news. To conquer this little issue, my parents both have their own remote. Mom (usually) only uses hers when dad is sleeping, so this works out wonderfully. I didn't expect anything more than the occasional "volume war," but a little exhaustion on my poor mother's part caused a "blog-able moment."

My sweet mama got up early to get daddy off to Wednesday morning Bible study, then cared for my little ones, while I slept. Having done a speaking engagement the day before, she was understandably tired! While dad mumbled something from the bedroom, she yelled, "What was that, dear?" as she proceeded to mute the T.V. (which was off) and point the remote in the direction of my father, attempting to turn up his volume! Giggling, my mother and I began to discuss how handy it would be if life as a mommy had a remote.

Naturally, I mentioned how handy any volume control whatsoever would be heavenly when two little boys are stuck inside on rainy days, and mother said there were times during the teenage rants of my youth when she really could have used the "mute" button! There are some events when changing the channel would be wonderful! Department of Licensing? Blech. I don't like this show. *click!* Ah, Cutters Point coffee house. Much better! In the event of a toddler tantrum, it's time for the fast forward button! Ooh, my spouse has admitted that I am right! REWIND! The possibilities would be endless ...

Now that my parents set their own schedules, their life is run similar to their DVR setting. They can change their schedules like never before to suit their needs and desires. They have travel options they have waited over forty years to experience. There is no more rushing little girls out the door while shouting, "Good-bye, God Bless you, I love you, don't forget your lunch!" (which rolled off my mother's tongue as though it were one word) We have leisurely moments; which are so precious to me. Even the freedom of retirement has it's limits, however ...

I watch my mother moving slower, with aching joints and a back that simply will not cooperate with all that mama's used to doing. She rests against her will, wishing her tired body would allow just one more outlet store. I hear the clicking of dad's pill holders at the breakfast table and know that his body doesn't always follow his plans, either. I know my parents both worked their bodies very hard to provide for we three girls, pay off their mortgage and care for their aging parents until they went to be with Jesus. I see the price they both have paid for their DVR life, it didn't come without a hefty price tag!

My parents, however, don't seem to have the least bit of regret about the arthritic joints and high blood pressure that have come from their "working" years. As we sit at the table, "rewinding" to my early years, we laugh until tears fall. They don't dwell on how much money I cost them, how it hurt their hearts to watch me struggle at times or how my unpredictable little mouth caused more than one public embarrassment. They look back with fondness, enjoy the present with us and look forward to great-grandchildren. Hindsight brings to light so many important pieces of their lives that would have been much easier to breeze by with a fast forward button.

As much as I love my little vacation here, I know that my darling husband will have to bring me home eventually (possibly kicking and screaming). I know the healthy joints and free-flowing arteries of my thirties serve a purpose-- to build up our family. Thirty years from now, when I have time on my side, instead of youth, will I be able to say that my aches and pains have come from the labor of love, as my parents can? I truly hope so. As much as my inner brat wants a remote to control everything, perhaps it's best to simply "pause" to thank God for wherever I am today, push "play" and enjoy the show! :)

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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