When it came time to retire over 20 years ago, Mom & Dad moved to south Florida to start life over again without the snow shovels. It was a major shift in the pattern of our family life. My three sisters and brother still live in the northeast and struggle with the constraints of work, finances and travel, so cannot always attend the birthdays, graduations, confirmations and holiday gatherings that can knit a family together or tear them apart.
But on my parents’ 65th wedding anniversary last week, my sister, Carole, and I were able to travel to Florida to share this milestone event with Mom & Dad and some of their large circle of friends. We had dinner at a local restaurant and then cake and champagne back at the house. Carole and I took the daughter roles of hostess, opening the bottles and pouring, lighting the candles, picking out music, passing the sliced cake. And when Mom mentioned, “Gee, I should have taken out my wedding dress…” we went out to the garage and got the ladder so we could reach the tattered box perched at the top of the closet.
This is where the friends come in, the people who Mom & Dad have gone shoulder to shoulder with as they all grapple with their relocated lives. I have always been grateful for the relationships they have cultivated over the years, and marvel at how much they look out for each other, helping each other live and love, celebrate a joy or share a loss.