My parents arrived in the afternoon of Wednesday, April 15th (wow, was that really six weeks ago?). I took them home and we made a lovely dinner of crusted tilapia, salad and basmati rice before then going to Liturgy of the Hours at St. Louis with Deacon Rob. They were last here in March 2007 and saw the chapel right after it was opened. Many changes have been made so they really enjoyed seeing it again. Also the main congregation room is being renovated at St. Louis so we got a peek to see what to expect the coming Sunday.
My dad has gout and was inflamed in his thumb so the idea of taking them downtown Wednesday was just not a good idea. We instead made a doctors appointment for Thursday morning.
So Thursday, we took Dad to the doctor and picked up a new prescription for him. For dinner we picked up Matthew on campus and attempted to go to Shady Grove but they had a music venue so we wound up at Chuy's. I find that hilarious because the one up north is a favorite haunt of Matthew's family... So they met him for the first time after hearing about him for a few weeks. The evening went smoothly as I expected it to. My parents are quite friendly and I knew they would like Matthew.
On Friday it rained so Mom and I ran between droplets and ran some errands. We picked up some things for the kitchen and around the apartment that I had been meaning to get. It was fun! Oh yeah, I had a dentist appointment in the morning. Nothing much to report there, I take pretty good care of my teeth. Mom and I went to the grocery store and proceeded to make chicken and beef teriyaki kabobs and grilled them for a delicious meal.
Saturday was another rainy day of errands. My mom helped me take the recycling down. I wanted her to see that it really isn't that hard to do and I wanted her to experience the sorting. I always wanted to recycle when I was a kid and my parents were very much against it. They thought it was a waste of time and they didn't want to make space in our home or garage to organize it. Later that day we took some stuff to the salvation army. Dad's new medicine wasn't helping his gout so we called his doctor at home and he called in a new prescription that we then picked up for him. Poor Dad, he says if this is the worst he ever is in his old age then he will be happy. I'm of the mind of, well, you still have several years to go, it could get worse... Mom and I spent the day baking and I made pizza dough. Matthew came over and we made pizza and prayed the scriptural rosary. It was a lovely evening to sit outside on my porch and eat and pray together. For me, homemade pizza and a beer is heaven. Greg had a movie party and we went over there later to see everyone for a bit. My parents go to bed early so they didn't care if I left for awhile.
Mass on Sunday was really nice and I was happy to see that Father Larry was giving the homily. It would be just my luck that the one Sunday my parents are in town that they wouldn't get to hear Father Larry's homily but I wasn't that unfortunate. The Gretencords were at Mass and afterwards I was able to hug on the kids and my parents met Sharon, Therese and Fulton. I like it when they can put names to faces because I talk about a few people who are important to me and all they can say is, "uh-huh" and try to understand. We had brunch with Matthew's parents at Kneaded Pleasures and Matthew and I were both quite pleased with how well everyone got along. My parents had a fabulous time and there was no end of conversation. Matthew told me several times that his parents had a great time as well. I don't think it could have been better. Unfortunately, we couldn't sit and talk forever because Sunday was the one day I took my parents to Becker Vineyards for wine tasting and it was about an hour and a half away so we needed to get going so we could spend some time before they closed in the afternoon.
Becker had changed a bit since I was last there and the changes were quite lovely. They now have an indoor wine tasting bar and the room is just beautiful. Before, that room was storage for their barrels. We took a tour and tasted quite a few samples. Joyce kept getting free samples and Dad and I wound up using the rest of her drink tickets! Her favorite was the port and Dad and I enjoyed several reds. I can't wait to go to Becker again, the atmosphere and the wine is exquisite. Outside of the main building the layout of Becker is quite nice, they are a mile away from the main road and driving past the grape vines really makes you feel like you are going to some place authentic. They also have bountiful harvests of lavender and the fields are just vibrantly beautiful. After such a fun-filled day my parents were exhausted and I went to Matthew's to see him since we were used to seeing each other every day and it was weird for me to not see him while my parents were visiting.
So during the weekdays my dad was sitting on the computer watching the stock market and Joyce and I were left to do what we wanted. We had a lovely breakfast and took our time getting ready to go out. I took her to the botanical gardens and we walked around for a couple of hours. Mom is in a garden club so she is quite knowledgeable about everything we saw. It was really neat because so many of the flowers were in bloom, especially the rose garden and the aromas were amazing. I took her to campus to buy some earrings and then we went to the lab to print out her boarding passes for their trip home.
I don't recall when we got back but it was either to just sit and talk for a bit before dinner or I took a nap. Matthew and Nicole joined us at Quality Seafood for dinner and it was fabulous! We went there two years ago when they were in town it is one of their favorite places so I was happy to take them there again. The seafood is quite delicious and the place had been renovated. On Mondays they have a small band come in and we enjoyed listening to swing music while a few people danced. The music wasn't so loud that we couldn't talk. It turned out to be a perfect evening.
After dinner we drove down to the Congress Bridge to see the bats come out. Matthew seemed reluctant to go but once we got up on the bridge and the bats came out he was really impressed and everyone had a wonderful time. I took a video, I hope I can post it here.
On Tuesday my parents packed up their things and I took them to the airport. It was a teary goodbye and I miss them immensely. I drove away thinking, "they left me here" and it took me a few hours to come to the realization that I actually left them and that it is up to me to fix my own heart in that matter. It is nice knowing that so many people love me and want me near them and I choose to ignore the tugs they do on my heartstrings because when I do pay attention to it, it makes me really sad.
I'm very happy that Matthew and I love each other's parents so much. It makes the whole relationship a lot smoother. After my one sister had (and still has) so many problems with her in-laws that was always one of my biggest worries for myself. I want peace and love. Trying to meet so many people's expectations is very difficult and if my in-laws didn't like me from the start it would be very hard on my future.
Lord, thank You for the gift of having wonderful parents and allowing me through my own struggles in growing up to overcome hurt and anger to see how much they truly love me and want only the best for me. Many people never overcome that and I am grateful I can appreciate my parents for who they are and what they are to each other.