My parents are in town visiting. They come every few months and sometimes they stay with us and sometimes they don't. They usually come for at least a few weeks at a time since they are making the trip all the way here. When they stay with us for an extended period it can be challenging having all of us under one roof. When they were planning this trip, they weren't sure if they were going to rent a place and I was starting to complain to my husband about them staying with us for a long time. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back. Having just lost his father, and his mother the year before, I realized how privileged I was to even have both my parents to spend time with. He was thinking the same thing as me, and let me know. I acknowledged that I understood and I stopped complaining.
Turns out my folks rented a place this time, and it makes a difference having some space. We have been spending time together each day since they arrived a few weeks ago. I am enjoying having them around. My husband's words really sunk in. At 92 and 81, I should savor the time I have with them. We did a jigsaw puzzle yesterday together and I can't remember the last time I sat still and focused that long. We talk and I learn about my family history and I remind them of stories of when I grew up that they have forgotten. We talk about politics, history and art. Together, they seem to know more than Google, and I am learning a lot.
I love watching my children have time with their grandparents. Living three thousand miles apart means when we do spend time together, it is pretty concentrated. My kids love playing cards with my parents and there are always some sort of music lesson that develops whenever my mom hears my daughter practicing piano. I love looking over and seeing the two of them sitting on the piano bench together, playing a duet. Now that my son has been taking lessons as well, he has also been spotted with Grandma next to him on the bench.
It isn't always easy having them around. They are set in their ways, and it is hard for the kids to figure out the difference between my parent's loud complaining volumes, and being yelled at. I can't really explain why old people get so grumpy sometimes, but despite those challenging moments, they have a bond. The other night, my kids asked if they could go out to dinner with Grandma and Grandpa without us. They wanted a Grandma and Grandpa date, so my parents picked them up, and my husband and I went and got our own dinner. Everyone was happy. We were going to all go out for ice cream last night, but it got late and we were all tired. We are putting it on our list for the week though. Finding activities that work for people ages 7 to 92 isn't always easy, but getting ice cream always works. You scream, I scream we all scream for ice cream.
Addendum- My parents have been here since February. They can't get back home because it is too risky to fly and NY isn't a great place to get stuck either right now. We are no longer having ice cream together, but we get to have short distanced visits when we drop off groceries for them every few days. This is not an ideal way to spend time with them and even though I don't get to give them hugs, I feel better knowing they aren't far away.