Father sun, my garden, sometime in 2006.
Tonight my brother and I are picking my parents up from the airport. It is unusual for even one of us to drive to the airport to pick them up. We're not bad people, its that my parents are pretty independent souls and they are used to either picking up a car that we have left them or getting a taxi.
However, tonight my parents are coming back to Seattle forever.
Growing up we were not particularly peripatetic people. The first few years after leaving Iran, we traveled where my father could get a better position as he moved up the ladder from intern to resident to fellow to faculty. My mother continued to do whatever was needed, making friends and connections as she could, keeping us amused and out of our father's way while he studied or slept between shifts. When he realized that at the ripe age of 41 that he had to move from the University to private practice to give his family everything that he never had, he made that shift.
Even when he made that jump, he went from the University to a hospital in West Seattle that desperately needed someone with his leadership, good nature and organizational skills to bring the hospital around. My father accomplished this and then moved on with his team he had amassed to a larger hospital. He flourished in a practice at a time when medicine was not about HMOs and PPOs and they just went to work and helped people. My father left his practice at the right time, he worked hard and had a good group of doctors around him to carry on.
He wanted to garden in the sun, enjoy his days off without rain gear, he wanted to see blue skies that stayed blue and to garden in short sleeves all year around. They moved to California where they built a house that few could dream of and enjoyed it with their friends. They later decided to downsize and remodeled a house that many would still consider to be palatial. During this time, my mother and father remained upbeat, even as they had to visit their things in storage while the contractors ripped out walls and installed granite counter tops.
Last year, when my brother was offered his dream position back in Seattle, my parents decided it was time to come home. They had different requirements than they did in 70s and 90's and 00's when they did major moves, but over time we managed to find something that would work for them. It still requires time and effort to get my mother's seal of approval, but for me its perfect. It brings them within five minutes of myself and my work, near a good grocery store, a pharmacy, hair salon and close to some of their long time friends.
The last few weeks have been very emotional for my mother and father. In the twelve years they have been associated San Diego and La Jolla they have made an amazing group of friends. My mom has been involved in several large charitable organizations and my father has kept himself busy educating himself at the Salk Institute. They are losing bond to my mother's nursing school friends who are known to fly down for a the weekend to have a bbq. These people gave them a sense of adventure and spontaneity that seems to lack here. I don't know why that is, but it just feels that way. In Seattle, they have twenty seven years of memories and an extended family that cannot wait to see them, yet, it all feels so bittersweet.
I cannot explain it, but the move that is permanent means that they are now rooted here, something that cannot be moved. I hope they do not lose their sense of adventure when they come home.