And just like that, they’re gone. My parents, that is. They just left Luxembourg after being here for six weeks.
“Six weeks!” I can hear some exclaim. “How could anyone put up with their parents for so long? What about your wife?” Actually, it was quite easy.
And the benefits…
Live-in babysitters; a few paid-for meals and shopping sprees. The boys, too, cashed in, getting things that they otherwise wouldn’t get from their odious mom and dad. The biggest benefit, though, was seeing my parents and our sons interact, especially during that most familial of moments, dinner time. Their eyes lit up, their voices were charged, and their expressions burst. It was like watching fireworks. There I was between, both father and son. Like a train coupler joining engine and caboose, I watched with pride and admiration as the two generations shared each others' enthusiasm and wisdom.
Sadly, because of the distance, these times together don’t happen often enough and never before for such an extended period. Many ex-pats here in Luxembourg are familiar with this. We are almost all living away from our parents, some further than others. So time with them is rare and limited. That’s not always such a bad thing, but their connection with our kids is important.
It’s a chance to link the past with the present and the future. Grandparents have a patience and compassion that we parents sometimes run short of. Thanks to their age and experience, they see life in a way we parents cannot always grasp. Grand kids are the benefactors of such wisdom. In return, grand kids revitalize grandparents. And through their grandparents, they can see the way the train of life rolls.
As a child, I never had that experience. One grandparent lived in Italy; the other three had already moved on to that “great gig in the sky,” as Pink Floyd called it.
So yeah… six weeks. That’s forty-two days. You might be surprised to hear that the time went by fast. But it did. Even my wife said so.