I return home to Alabama this week. Posting will be sporadic in my absence. Saturday Video and Sunday's Quote of the Week are easy enough to auto-post, meaning the blog will not go entirely silent. I may leave the laptop at home and go off the grid entirely. I haven't been home in almost two years and my mother is ailing. Both of my sisters live in the general area and have been checking in on her. Mom had to have an emergency appendectomy a couple weeks back and has not quite healed yet.
Part of my motivation is being the dutiful son and part of it is to get out of DC for several days. I love this city and consider it my adopted home, but I find that I do not let my occupation determine my entire self-esteem. Washington is a strange place, one with many overlapping groups of people, all busy doing something to save the world. I wish I were not as skeptical of their passionate beliefs, but I see them as often navel-gazing.
I would have departed for home much sooner in the year, but I kept waiting for Mom's chronic pain issues to resolve themselves with time. Unfortunately, they haven't. I suppose I'll have to address her from her sick bed, since standing upright for long periods of time is not something she can yet do.
My mother and father are both retiring in the next few months, renting out the house they have owned since 1993, and moving to the Alabama Gulf Coast. Like many retirees, they're seeking a new environment with a slower pace, a small community where life rocks along at a sleepy tempo. My father intends to sell commercial real estate and only semi-retire. I can't imagine him being happy with too much time on his hands. My mother's health is so precarious and uncertain that she may never be able to resume working.
My mind returns to my ultimate destination, that was, for all intents and purposes, my childhood home. I was 12 at the time the family moved into the area. That house retains many memories for me, some good, some painful. I could tell story after story. It is, for instance, the place I came of age and it was the place I've returned to, year in and year out, for Thanksgivings and Christmases. It was also the house where I waded into knee-deep snow one early morning during a freak blizzard.
I can't help being a little sentimental about the passage of time and the changes. I try not to be a sentimental person, but I see a new phase of my life on the horizon. Soon, I will fly into a different airport. Birmingham will be a memory. Mom and Dad will live in a new house and keep a new schedule. I'm not sure what that's going to look like quite yet. I doubt they do, either.
This may be the last time I return to Birmingham, or at least one of the last times. I have few, if any, friends still remaining in the city. Though I retain many memories, there won't be any reason for me to be there anymore. One sister will likely depart for the West Coast in a year's time and the other seems to be anchored a couple hours' drive north. All of this collectively represents a massive change in my life, and it will be even more of one for my folks.