So it looks like Mom didn’t actually have nefarious purposes behind her invite to me to come home for a visit. My father, who was layed off from his job after the company he worked for shipped all their work to Mexico, is now at another job working nights, seven days a week, 65+ hours per week. This has been going on for two months now and while Mom is thankful that Dad quickly found another job, she is also lonely.

Mom apparently has been filling her time working at one of my former grade schools that houses homeless persons at night (of which there are many in Michigan these days), she also volunteers at a few nursing homes, has become part of a book club, and joined (oh, Dog, I can barely type it), the Red Hat Society, which best I can tell, is a group of woman making public nuisances of themselves while donning red chapeaus. All this while still keeping up the house, paying the bills, and running a life.

That is not to say that this hasn’t been hard on my father. At 64 years old, adjusting to working nights, 4pm to 4am, when he never has done that before, is no easy task. Add to that that his 401k, after taking a severe beating in 2001, is now taking another. He wonders at this point if he’ll ever be able to afford to retire.

Mom has adjusted her schedule as best as she can to spend time with Dad, but when he is working so many hours, that still doesn’t amount to much.

And my almost 30, basement-dwelling, dumb-ass brother was trying to criticize my mom to me by relating her late sleeping, her overly, overt interest in everyone’s business these days, and other things that are beginning to annoy him. It was hard not to take his head off but as he has hardly been out in the world himself, I doubt he understands.

He doesn’t understand that my parents are letting go of their previous dreams of retirement and accepting a new reality. And he certainly doesn’t understand that this isn’t exactly how my parents thought they’d be spending their “golden years”.

So I’m trying to be more tolerant of Mom and her constant phone calls of late. I’m trying to actually be the one to pick up the phone and reach out to her. I’m trying to plan more trips home in the near future. None of which is easy because my mom and I have a difficult relationship at best. So even when I’m listening to her relate the evilness of the neighbor dog for what feels like the hundredth time, I’m doing my best to just hear her out. I think on some level, that even though we aren’t really saying much to each other during these phone conversations, she appreciates the company.