Another day in the Alaska Boardroom. I am traveling home after a day of coaching and visiting family. I must admit that one of our best investments has been this Alaska Boardroom pass. Who would have thought? I almost enjoy getting to the airport for the required two hour wait because I can sit and get fast internet, not to mention free beverages, chips and fruit. So here I am again.
Yesterday I flew into town for some coaching and visits with clients. We had also intended to be here for a one day off-site that was postponed. With the extra time I decided to visit my folks, John and Bernie, who live about an hour from Seattle in Lacey, WA. I have been waiting for a chance to visit. My dad will soon turn 90 and even though I have no doubt he intends to live beyond that memorable number, I knew he had been dealing with a bad, unrelenting cold. I am not sure if I was worried more about him, or my mother, who often not only cares for him, but also helps with other elderly friends who are in various stages of moving on.
For many years I was quite distant from my family as I worked through some resolved childhood issues. During that time, my parents seemed to find their own creative ways of filling the gap. While I was doing tons of personal growth work, they were exploring Edgar Cayce’s, A Course in Miracles, and various other new age/energy type work. When we finally reconnected, I discovered there were similarities between us that I otherwise would have never known. Like my mother’s interest and skills in working with energy, for instance, and my father’s desire to be known as the Cosmic Man. Now, when we get together, I often am intrigued by their outside-the-norm lifestyle. Their current reading material is almost always interesting and includes some titles I make sure to write down. I can also count hearing some interesting stories about my mother’s Healing Touch work and my Dad’s latest athletic pursuit. At 90, he has just decided that he will shift from Ping Pong (which he’s done on a large scale in their community), to the Wii machine. I suggested he might like revisiting his tennis days without the need for an overhead serve. I can imagine on my next visit he will have created some type of round robin interactive Wii event for the Panarama folks.
I am quite amazed at the life my parents live. They are very engaged. Next week they are heading up to Canada and will be visiting one of my favorite locations—the Wikkinnish Inn.
It is an amazing gift to me to be able to discover who my parents are as people. Not in the roles as Mom and Dad, but what makes them tick as individuals and what they choose to value and believe in. Sure, it has taken a lot of work on my part to get out of the old family patterns. Sometimes I can still get drawn in. But with this visit I just enjoyed connecting with them, listening to John convince me to read his latest book club book, The Elegance of the Hedge Hogs, and helping Bernie with a computer project. As I worked my way through the cluttered harddrives my mother has created, which contain everything from pictures to poetry, finances to educational materials, I could tell I was indeed her daughter. My computer is just as crazy and I could hear myself saying the same things she does, “One of these days I will get this all in order”. Sure she might, but what I liked was that she didn’t let keeping things organized and within control get in the way of compiling an awesome lifetime of experiences. Even John’s desk, which he too has been organizing, reveals the many layers of his life, kind of like a tree trunk. Tidy but tons of rings.
I enjoyed walking through their world. Knowing some bits and pieces of who they are as people and also confirming that, indeed, we are a family.
Well it’s about time for my flight. So I’ll be on my way.