Dinner for Six
Birthday Report

When My Parents Were My Age

These days, I find myself thinking more about how my parents were feeling when they were the age I am now. (My father died at seventy-seven; my mother at eighty-six.) Now that I am approaching eighty, I realize that they may have felt more and more vulnerable as they grew older. I was too busy with my kids and my career to notice. They were my parents, and I took them for granted.

The move we’ve just made to an unfamiliar place has shown us our vulnerability. We don’t adjust to change as easily as we used to. I don’t know where to take my dry cleaning, where I can turn right on red or where to park my car. I have to find new doctors and in the spring, I will have to look for new farmers’ markets. (Fortunately, I don’t have to find a new husband.)

I am eager to feel settled, to feel more part of a community. People here are warm and welcoming, but they are not yet “our” people and we are not yet theirs.

Did my parents have an easy time when they retired to Florida? I wish I had asked.


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