Having moved nearly 700 miles away from my parents several years ago, I often worry about how they’d fare as empty-nesters. Would they be lonely? Would they eat well? Would they stay active in their retirement years? I think it’s funny how, as both myself and my parents have grown older, our roles have reversed and I find myself worrying about them so much.

Last week, I managed to clear my work schedule and travel home for a much needed visit with my family. I asked Mom to be my “tour guide” and line up a few trips and special projects for me to do while I visited – since she probably needed something to keep her busy in her spare time, you know. My week long itinerary included spending some time with friends and family members, shopping, dining out, and tagging along on a Saturday drive with the Tri-Cities Miata Car Club. Mom and Dad have been members of the club for a couple of years now and I thought it would be fun spending the day riding along with the “seniors” in the slow lane.

Early Saturday morning, we met the other club members at the designated meeting place, lowered our tops (car tops, that is), and all the cars – about 11 in all - lined up and headed out to our final destination of Backbone Rock near Damascus, VA . I was riding shotgun with Miss Wanda, a friend of my parents, and we puttered along the scenic drive chatting and laughing. We were the third car in line as we started up a steep, curvy mountain incline and the next thing we knew, we were lagging behind no doubt because we were busy talking. The minute Miss Wanda realized she was getting left behind, my Driving Miss Daisy experience quickly turned into what seemed like the final lap of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. She grabbed the gear shift, shifted into overdrive, and our little toy car sped up the mountain slinging rocks and dust all the way. We quickly (very, quickly) met up with the others and also happened up on Farmer Brown who was out for a Saturday drive on his tractor. Not content to be behind a slow mover, my driver (is that really Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the drivers seat??) pulled out, drafting behind the car in front of us in true NASCAR fashion, passed Farmer Brown, and sped on down the mountain road.

Once we arrived at Back Bone Rock, everyone got out to admire the beautiful scenery and have a Kodak moment. There was a group of young adults repelling down the side of the rock and as I stood there on the ground below watching them, I realized that yes indeed that was my father hanging off the side of the rock above snapping photos of them as they scaled down. How in the world did he get up there, I wondered, and then I saw that our little group was hiking up the side of the rock. I fell in line with them and tried to hide the fact that I was actually feeling a little winded as I headed up the elevation. I was, after all, the youngest person in the group and I couldn’t be outdone by these so-called seniors. After a few more photo ops, we jumped back into our cars and headed into town for lunch at The Old Mill in Damascus.
The food was good and the company of the other club members was nice.

As we started on our journey back home, I began to reflect on the events of the day. Here I had been worrying that my parents were spending their days sitting at home staring at the walls when in fact they were out behaving like teenagers, driving in the fast lane, climbing rocks, socializing with friends and then it dawned on me that I was exhausted and needed a nap. Talk about role reversal!!


Kristen said...

Looks like your parents are handling the empty next just fine. What a great trip home!

Anonymous said...

Allison, great pleasure meeting you--tag along anytime with us "seniors"


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