Rainbow at the end of my parents' move

On Moving My Parents Across the Country

Clouds out a plane window

Yes, it's true. In the middle of a pandemic, my parents decided to move. They had a really good reason: family.

Parents Travel

When they told me about their move a few months earlier, it took me a moment to realize they were not joking. It took them a while to mention the destination and once they did that, I understood why they were going.

Two days in Nebraska with my parents

My parents are in their eighties, so they are both retired. I was really moved by their decision to be closer to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At the same time, I was concerned about such a big undertaking at their ages.

The Storm Ahead

As their plans developed, my parents shared with me that they would be driving their car across the country in mid-March. This means that there could still be winter conditions, especially when going over the Rocky Mountains. Now, I was a little worried.

Photo out of a plane window viewing a town - my parents' move took them closer to a major airport

On the flip side, my parents would be moving further away from me — at least in miles. Of course, their new home is a little closer to a major airport, so that could be a plus for visiting them. But in some ways, it did feel to me like they would be more distant. So, I wanted to give them a sign of my care for them in this big transition. The drive across the country seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Parents Move

Snowstorm driving with my parents

Sure enough, we ran into the Colorado/Wyoming blizzard of March 2021. Just in time for the second segment of our journey, the route we had initially planned to take was going to be closed for several days. So, the three of us sat in a Nebraska hotel, planning and scheming about how we would get around these literal roadblocks.

A snowy drive with my parents

We eventually made a plan. The day that we skirted around the blizzard, I was determined to drive the whole day. My intention was to take that burden away from them. Of course, this was the day that all three of us drove.

Imagery and Metaphor

My parents at their new home

There are many more stories from this time together, but I will only mention a little bit more. When we arrived at the west coast destination, we were greeted by our family. We decided to be a “pod” for the duration of my visit while we continued to use the best practices we'd found for surviving the pandemic.

Truly, this was an adventure. I know that my adrenaline kicked in many times as we made our way across the country. But it's also clear how important this journey was and is. (And I'm sure you see the double meanings all through this story.)

Clouds and blue sky from a plane window

Eventually, it was time for me to say goodbye. I've had to say this sort of farewell to my parents many times before. But this time was different. I saw my father coming towards me and his face looked different than I had ever seen. I didn't have an explanation until he started to cry as he hugged me. This is not something I can recall from our other goodbyes, so that moment has stayed with me. It has meaning and I'm not yet certain what that meaning is. Just that it's important and that I can feel a sort of tears of my own forming inside.

Thanks for reading the story of moving my parents across the USA. Perhaps by the time we are able to hang out together with more ease, I will be able to tell you the rest of the story…

Sunset at my parents' destination

6 thoughts on “On Moving My Parents Across the Country”

  1. Lots there Stan. Takes a lot to make a move like that. I fully understand wanting to be close as positively to grandkids. I hope everything works out well for your family and the grandkids get their grandparents full time!

    1. It does feel like a lot. Thanks for dropping by, Gary!
      The grand and great-grandkids have plenty pulling at them, but I think they get how important time with the great-grandparents is, too.

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