Coping with Snowbird Parents

The folks are off again, on another adventure down in sunny Florida. It’s not the first time they’ve gone walk-about — or, rather, drive-about — but for some reason it seems to get a little more stressful every time. For starters, my mother will call right before they go with a message of love and the location of their vital information, just in case. And occasionally, they’ve gone away while I’ve been in the throes of pregnancy hormones. But I’ve decided, I need to compile a list of things to do when the retirees are gone to play on holiday.

1) Itinerary — it’s lovely for the ‘rents to provide a detailed list of places and dates. Not only is it helpful for explaining to their grandchildren why Poppa and Gramma can’t call them over a lost tooth, it’s a bit of a comfort for the adult child, too. I like knowing where my mom and dad are, and what route they’re taking, especially when there’s bad weather on the news.

2) Wine. Or tea. Your comfort beverage of choice. Coupled with chocolate and deep breaths. They’re adults, they’ve looked after themselves for this long. Just because there seem to be more stories in the news of people going missing on cruises, faces being eaten off in the Panhandle, horrible traffic accidents in unseasonably snowy conditions . . . *gulps comforting beverage*

3) Engage them on social media. My mom is on the cusp of becoming comfortable with Facebook, and Dad uses it occasionally. I like being able to keep in touch with them via updates and photographs. It goes back to wanting to know they’re on track and everything is fine. Did I mention, they’re grown adults who can look after themselves?

4) Distractions in the form of favourite movies, books, little day trips, whatever takes the image of the parents travelling far from their safety zone and dumps it into a little holding tank. For me, it’s alternating between Doctor Who, How I Met Your MotherCastleLost Girl, and most recently, Sherlock (BBC). 

For all of you whose dear pre-spring (get it? ‘Cause I’m their off-spring? Or should it be on-spring? Progenitors?) are on a travel binge, I’m there with you. 

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