It was over 20 years ago. I know because Brett was 3 months old at the time. In spite of that, I can remember the day like it was yesterday. It was the day my parents were to arrive in Albany. They were moving.
My Dad had been injured earlier on his job. He was a truck driver and now, because of the injury, he wasn't going to be able to drive truck anymore. He had about 7 years until retirement and so he still needed a job. Jobs that pay well for a man his age that has had a heart attack in the past are not easy to come by so Dad was going to be working for Warren at the cabinet shop. I could tell you how proud I was of both Warren and my Dad for their working relationship in the years to follow but that is another story.
My parents sold their house on a small acreage, packed up their belongings, got in two vehicles and were going to be at my house any minute.
I was excited. I was beyond excited!
I would now have my parents living near me. They would be around to see all the activities that grandparents long to see. Birthday parties, Brett's first words, babysitting, cheer leading tryouts, pole vaulting competitions, the first cars, graduations, etc. They would be there as Brett grew up from infancy and also to be a part of the teenage years for Josh and Kellie. It felt good.
I had found them a small duplex that I felt would meet there expectations. It was clean and quiet with a great landlord. The rent was good. It hadn't been easy getting the place either. I had to beg. And I mean that literally. Both they and the landlord scored on that decision.
And now was the day. I remember them driving into our driveway, one following the other. I had been watching for them out the window so when I saw them I ran with Brett in my arms, hardly being able to control my excitement, to greet them. I remember both of them smiling but in looking back I also can see some pain in their eyes.
I cannot believe it but I didn't realize until just lately how hard it must have been for them. They were leaving their home and moving into something much smaller. They had left other family members behind. They would be learning new jobs and a whole new town. Finding a new church and making new friends. And they were in their late 50's at the time. And to make it even harder the move wasn't by choice but rather by necessity. I'm sorry I didn't understand then. I'm sorry I couldn't comprehend all the changes they were going through. I'm sorry I didn't want to hear how they missed home without it being a slam in my direction. I'm sorry I didn't stand in my driveway that day and let them cry if that is what they were feeling.
Now I can understand what I couldn't then. It wasn't that they didn't want to be near me or even that there wasn't some joy in the adventure. There was. It was just hard to leave all that they had known. It was hard to leave home behind.
Yes. Now I understand.