Although my grandparents have been in San Diego for more than 10 years, it wasn't until this past Christmas that I realized it had become in a sense home for me as well. It was an important epiphany for me to recognize that "home" is much more about the people you love than the place where they are and home can be more than one place.
I had very mixed emotions (to say the least) about the move when they made it in 1999 - what I knew of California at that point consisted of 2 very brief trips to San Francisco and L.A and the Hollywood tabloids. Other than that it was the place from where my very glamourous auntie flew in once or twice per year dazzling me with her gorgeousness and charm while getting her fill (with me and grandma) of tastycakes! Now I think nothing of hopping on a plane for a long weekend for a visit although the time between Chistmas and New Years is always so much better just from a quantity aspect - not to mention that the weather is always soooo much better than it is on the East Coast.
This visit comes in a time of transition for both my grandparents and for me. Watching the aging process in action is painful but part of the whole circle of life... Is the silver lining being able to do it in southern California or does that just make it harder in comparison? While I am looking at new opportunities to expand my opportunities and world through travel and school, their world is getting smaller as they move to assisted living - one accepting and one fighting it every step of the way. While I am relieved to know that they have good care and less stress I appreciate that this is not the way they would prefer to spend the later years of their lives - if only because of the cost. In my mind, there is no amount that is too much to keep them safe and healthy but then again I have been known to drop $300 on a pair of shoes that make me smile. (No Dad, really I have never done that... I swear...)
It's not the quantity of time at this point that I have to measure but the quality of the visit and the memories that we're able to create. So yesterday I had a tour of the community with my grandma, talked politics and manufacturing with grandpa, walked the beach with my dad and had an early morning (early as in 0500) laughter-filled chat with my auntie. A family dinner for my grandfather's 89th birthday filled with very little angst and some serious bouts of laughter wrapped up a pretty good day. Anytime my grandma teases my grandpa about "not hogging the conversation", it's pretty funny given how little he chimes in. Oh and FTR my dad can ask questions that will take hours to answer and generate some pretty entertaining responses - who knew Liberace was not Mexican... Thanks Google!
For Mothers' Day, grandma and I are debating the Ricky Martin concert but may settle for a movie post-brunch instead. She can't bear to watch the Padres lose so a ballgame is out given how they are playing this season... although it's still better than my beloved Nationals I think...
I don't know how many more trips I have ahead of me like this so I am counting the minutes in this one.
Happy Mothers Day to all the moms and the "moms". It's back to my own reality tomorrow when I fly home to another place I call home.