Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Do I Actually Want?

***Yeah, this is really, really, long, and I apologize.  I don't know what happened.  Read it in more than one sitting if you must, but I do think it hits on some primal, yet unspoken thoughts we all have when it comes to our parents, no matter what our age and situation.  Or, of course, maybe it's just me.  :)  Oh, and it's almost 6am and I haven't slept yet, so sentence structure and grammar?  Yeah, not really happening.  Bonus points for every word you find that isn't really an actual word, but just something I made up that sounds passable.  See?  That right there.***

Here's what's up:  I found out today that my mother lost her job.  I've glanced through all my posts and realize I haven't written a lot about my parents.  A ton about my MIL and FIL, but not my own folks.  This also means I haven't nicknamed them yet, and first initials won't do, because my dad shares his first initial with someone we already write about.  Um, gosh, why did I save trying to be creative and coming up with blog nicknames for my own parents at 5am?  Think, Juliet, think.  Oh, okay, let's go "Lord C" and Lady C," for you know, Lord and Lady Capulet from the play.

So, Lady C lost her job.  Details are fuzzy, as in non-existent.  I missed her teary voice mail on my cell by literally 10 minutes, and by the time I called back, she wasn't picking up.  We have been playing phone tag the entire evening.  What I do know is that I'm shocked but not surprised, and yes, before you pause too long wondering, it is entirely possible to be shocked yet not surprised.  I am not surprised because she has been worried and talking about fear over losing her job for probably 2 years now due to the fact that the company replaced her direct boss (she's an administrative assistant) and he didn't like her as much as the previous person did.  Not being there first hand I have never known whether this was just my mother being a worrywart like me (hey, you wondered where I got it?)  or whether there was due cause for her concern.  Thus, my lack of surprise, however I was shocked by the actual news, because while I've heard her worry for years, nothing ever happened nor were there any warning signs that something might.

What makes matters worse than "simply" being laid off in an economy where jobs are still scarce, the fact that Lady C doesn't have a college degree (she worked for the company 16+ years and climbed the ladder from receptionist to her final position as admin assistant to the office manager), and that companies seem to want young doe-eyed 20 somethings they can pay minimum wage and no benefits, is the fact that my mother was the bread winner (and source of health insurance benefits) in my parents' household.  My dad, Lord C, lost his full-time job at least 3 years ago.  He's been working from home selling health insurance, but it doesn't have benefits, and while he's tight-lipped, I know he's struggling finding clients and making a living because a year ago he picked up a part-time job at Bath and Body Works, and a few weeks ago a second part-time job as a gas station attendant.  (For those of you playing along at home, that's 3 jobs total.)  Not exactly how I pictured my 63 year-old father, who used to make $60,000+ a year as a top department store salesman, living out what should be his last working decade.

Oh boy, this post is way too long, and I haven't even gotten to the real actual reason for writing tonight.  Let me cut to the chase-- if that's even possible at this point.  I miss my parents like crazy.  I moved to Las Vegas 6 years ago, straight out of college, not really knowing what would happen, how long I'd be here, etc, etc, etc.  But I do acknowledge it was completely my choice to move 1,735 miles-- the exact distance from my front door to theirs.  What I didn't plan on was falling in love, getting married, and having a child 1,735 miles away from them.  And it's hard.  Hard as hell.  My son only knows Grandma MIL and Grandpa FIL.  I want him to know Grandma C and Grandpa C.  Romeo has tried to comfort me by saying that as a kid he had one set of local grandparents and one set of long-distance ones.  And while yes, he was closer emotionally to the local set, he doesn't have super, amazing, one-of-a-kind memories of them.  Those memories are reserved for his long-distance grandparents.  The fact that those visits were fewer and far between makes the memories sweeter.  I appreciate the sentiment, but frankly, I think it's a load of crap.  I want my parents here.  I've wanted them here since I was pregnant.  And not just for Tybalt's sake.  I want them to know him as well.  I also am sick and tired of everything from holidays and special occasions to everyday excursions to the park or the mall being only with Romeo's mom.  I want my own Mom (and Dad).  I miss them.  I want Christmases with them that don't require trying to budget $2,000 for airline tickets, hotels, rental car, etc.  I want my parents to just drive to our place for a dinner every once in a while, and us to them.  I want them to get the chance to babysit Tybalt instead of that right and privilege only belonging to Romeo's mom.

And the thought of my parents moving "out west" from Chicago has never been absurd.  My sister and her husband live in Provo, UT.  Which, while it's a lengthy drive, is, in all honesty a very do-able trip for a long weekend.  However, while my mom was the breadwinner, and in this position, as I've [too lengthily] tried to describe and show is not just a normal title and job she could transfer to, let's say, the Las Vegas branch of the national company she works for, a move while not absurd, was not practical.  Or, more straightforward, pretty much impossible.  While my dad could do his "things" anywhere, my mother definitely could not.  I've begged, I've told her to start applying online for administrative assistant positions in any company, any field, anywhere in the west closer to my sister and me.  I've always pushed for Las Vegas, because I selfishly want them with me and their grandson, not my sister in Utah, but still, anywhere out west where they are a drive away would be fine.  But my parents' response has always been that they wish it could happen, but like I said, while my Dad is flexible, my mom couldn't leave her steady job without another job lined up, and even doing that, she wouldn't be making nearly as much by starting over at some new company that doesn't know her.  And while it's painful, I've accepted that.  But when I got the voice mail this afternoon, I couldn't help but actually feel HAPPY.  I should feel horrible and upset for the injustice my mother is feeling.  And yeah, I do.  I should be worried about my parents--my father has heart problems and my mother has arthritis, knee, and lower back problems-- and now they just lost their health insurance.  And again, yeah, I do.  Yet I also feel like this is IT.  This is the time for them to pick up everything and just move out here...NOW.  Don't scramble to find a job, Mom, and then use that one as an excuse to stay in Chicago still.  In one of her voice mails today as we played our incessant phone tag, my mother said they are in fact talking about taking the opportunity, yet at the same time, "this probably isn't the time to make rash decisions."  And I want to say, "Why not?  Now is actually the perfect time to make a rash decision."  Romeo has already told me not to get my hopes up.  Moving is expensive enough.  Imagine trying to move now that you have only the balance in your checking account to live off of.  And I get that.  I get that it seems impossible financially.  But I'm so scared that if they don't scrape the money together and do it now, they'll get tied into Illinois again, and they never will.

Here's the last thing though for tonight.  I cry myself to sleep sometimes over how much I miss my parents.  I hug Tybalt tight sometimes and cry into his shoulder that my parents aren't around to see his milestones and witness his amazing personality.  But does that truly, honestly, mean, that if and when my parents got here, I wouldn't regret them being here?  I want them here on my terms, and that's just not possible.  They'd be here on their terms.  I said somewhere up above here that I wish they lived so close they could drive to our place, or us to theirs, for dinners every once in a while.  But that's the key right there--"every once in a while."  If they are here, they are HERE.  Do I want the pressure of being expected to see them whenever they want to see me?  Do I want my parents, who arise even on their days off no later than 6am, to find out that I sleep until 1pm on the weekend when Romeo can wake up with Tybalt instead of me?  And how would I deal with the jealousy (I can see all three of their skin turning green now) when MIL, who has never had to share Tybalt in her life, now has to share with my parents?  And my parents who will want to see him every possible chance, seeing they didn't get to before, realizing they must still in fact share with MIL?

So, do I push as hard as I can and tell them exactly why they should move this instant and come out here?  Or should I resist the urge and just stand back, with my hands clean, and see what happens by fate, and by their own decisions, without a word (or much of a word) from me?  (I mean at the very, very least I would think that I need to state once again that I would welcome them here.  No?)

There is an infamous "joke" that really truly happened when I was hospitalized and only semi-conscious two years ago.  I've only been told what happened because I was so drugged that I have no memory, so I'm paraphrasing the following dialogue, and for the sake of the story you should also know that Henderson, NV is a bustling town with jobs and shopping and basically all Las Vegas has, as it's suburb, and is only about 20 minutes away from our current apartment, whereas Bullhead City, AZ, is just across the state border, with no real economy or job opportunities (let alone a mall, so who'd want to live there anyway!  lol) but about 90 minutes to 2 hours away:  My mother was at my bedside, along with Romeo.  (It was her first visit, when I was touch and go still in the ICU.  And I couldn't talk because I had already been given a tracheotomy.)  She was crying I guess and holding my hand and saying, "Daddy and I need to move out here.  We can't keep living this far away from you, 'Juliet.'"  And apparently even in my stupor I nodded and smiled and even teared up.  So she said "How would you like that, if Daddy and I moved here, huh?  Wouldn't that be good?"  And again there was more emphatic nodding and smiling on my part.  Then she said, "What about Henderson?  That would be a good choice."  At which point, I stopped smiling and shook my head 'no' violently!  Luckily my mother laughed and replied, "Too close, huh?"  And Romeo chimed in saying, "What about Bullhead City?"  To which I apparently went back to nodding fiercely and smiling widely, and the whole room busted a gut laughing so hard.

So perhaps, while I fantasize about a Norman Rockwell situation with my loving parents right here, I should take a clue from my no-holds barred, tell it like it is because the drugs are like truth-serum, semi-conscious mental state...20 minutes away?  Hell no, but feel free to move about 2 hours away so you have to call first before just dropping by for dinner...

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