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When it's ok to change positions

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There are times in the lives of middle age plus people when it is good to let the child become the parent. Times when the ability, strength or knowledge of the mature offspring is gratefully accepted by the even more mature parent. I had such a time last weekend.

We were flying back to Washington, D.C. to attend my brother's funeral services. My sister Ellen and I wanted to go but knew that unless we got a rental car in D.C. we would be an extra burden on the families of our two nephews. They were expecting their own children and grandchildren to return as well as their Colorado brother and his family. They didn't need two women in their 80s to escort from place to place.

Thankfully I had had the wisdom some years ago to have a son who was very knowledgeable about travel, knew the basics of traffic in our capital city and was available for the needed dates. So Michael became our shepherd.

To start off the excursion with a near miss, my alarm did not go off, but I awoke on my own at 3:15 a,m,. Michael and his wife, who were to drive us to KCI, were to be at our house at 3:30. (I discovered after I got back home that I had set the clock for 3 p.m.) I dashed to the guest room to awaken Ellen and found her already up, so we did make our deadline with the help of breakfast bars instead of cereal and time in the car to finish all buttons and bows.

At KCI we had to verify our age in order to qualify for the senior discount. I really thought it was rather evident that there was no question about that, but things did go smoothly as we went through security. (Note to myself: If I ever fly again, don't wear shoes that have to be tied.) When we were served our drink on the plane I noticed the napkin said that Southwest flies non-stop to more than 60 cities. I was concerned how we would get off, but found that the slogan was misleading.

Getting the rental car was easy because Michael knew what to do and where to go, and we didn't have too much trouble finding our niece's home in Silver Springs, Maryland.

Washington has never been prettier. The trees were bright with multi-colored leaves. Everywhere we went there were young adults running with their dogs, eating at sidewalk cafes (even though I was cold in a jacket), riding bicycles for fun or transportation to work, using leaf blowers to blow those pretty leaves to the curb, and driving small cars very fast in very heavy traffic -- even on narrow roads through Rock Creek Park. I began to wonder where all the older people were.

We found our generation in the quiet neighborhood where our brother had lived for so long. The church was filled with gray-haired friends and the young people at the services were Harold's relatives.

In my years of living in Washington I don't remember that many people seemed to drive with their horns. It was evident last weekend. A light changed to green and at least one horn would beep immediately.

The return trip went well also and the easy process at KCI to be picked up at the door after a quick cell phone call was a welcome home.

If you can't be young again it's great to have an obliging son. Thanks, Michael.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus