Sunday, July 4, 2010

Retirement Wishes and Health Care Dreams

Ever wanted something so beyond the realm of possibility that it wasn’t even a wish, but more like a fleeting thought that ran like a drunken flasher through your brain? Well, after years of attempting to make it across the field without being caught, one of my daredevil notions finally succeeded.

The too-incredible-to-even-wish-it has come true: soon, my father and my in-laws will be living in the same retirement community.

Other little thirty-something girls fantasize about romantic gestures from men not wearing Ed Hardy shirts, or peep-toe pumps priced by a dyslexic. Not me; I want to go to sleep at night without worries about aging family members. As the only childless spawn within a thousand miles of my father, and my in-laws, I’ve been obsessed with the fact that someday, with no notice, I’ll have to guide them through a worst-case scenario. In my father’s case, it would probably be a crushing pile of hoarded newspapers. My mother-in-law, who was never told her real height (4’8”), will attempt to move furniture down three flights of stairs and break all of her limbs at once. This leaves my father-in-law to death by boredom. So you can see why I've been so concerned.

Once my sister and I finally accomplished the impossible this past Memorial Day, convincing my father to throw away several pieces of paper — and, what he considers a secondary move, relocating him close to me — I joked to my husband that all I needed was for his parents to move to the same neighborhood and we could all spend holidays together. I guess God was listening. My in-laws decided to check the place out for themselves, and made a decision. Weeks later, they came over to my father’s new apartment on Father’s Day, just one block from their new villa, and we all ate Dairy Queen ice cream cake. When I began crying with happiness, I told them not to worry; it was just a big brain freeze. Luckily, as they are not nearly as sophisticated as me when it comes to soft serve, they couldn’t tell the difference.

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