By LIZ MARCHI
I just returned, from what has been annual pilgrimage, from a week in the Deep South with my Mom and Dad. Having lost Jon’s Mom in November, I look at these visits with more gratitude and patience for this time in life. In their late 80s, they are holding on to their daily routine. My job is to get the patio containers planted, some bedding plants done and work with the yard crew on spring clean up.
It’s a beautiful and large home where we as a family have shared countless happy occasions: weddings, christenings, holidays and parties. I always come away conflicted and guilty for having the luxury of being a kid again at 62. My room is there, all my growing up memorabilia neatly stored in drawers.
We can’t talk politics. Daddy is sure the country is in serious trouble. They both lectured me on slowing down, settling down and being content. Every time I leave the house Mom has checked the weather, the traffic and given me cash and a credit card.
The new issue of East Alabama bride is on the newsstands. Weddings are lavish in the culture where family is everything. While I cant’ buy into the lavish wedding part (one of Dad’s best lines is that weddings were the worst investments he ever made) I do treasure the family part.
I moved my girls west to have a difference experience and figure out who they are outside of being part of a family. However, I take great comfort in knowing that they are part of a large and connected tribe of cousins, aunts and uncles who are there for them.
Family is emotional ground zero. As I age, I cherish my amazing family all across the country and cultures. You never stop parenting and there is no handbook. I hope that as I age, I can love and support my children on their journey as adults and independent thinkers and doers. They know I love them all as an imperfect human still learning.
Liz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild. She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go into overtime.