I already messed up my summertime blogging goal but I had an amazingly awesome reason – I was at my parents’ retirement party. Yup, they both broke away from the workforce on the same day. You’d think on their last day, they’d follow their usual schedule just to make it official and to have a countdown of the minutes like New Year’s Eve; but, of course, my parents couldn’t follow “the plan.” Dad left work 3 hours early and Mom stayed 45 minutes late. Of course, as far as my parents are concerned, they were both right on time.
My parents are some of the hardest working people I know – there were YEARS that I remember neither one of them taking a sick day. I remember staying with my grandparents on nights and weekends when my parents had to work odd shifts. My dad worked all sorts of jobs: metal factory, plumbing supplies, modular office manufacturing. He had some really interesting jobs like making the big light up signs that businesses use on their storefronts and working in a factory that made those super cool self checkout stations (I LOVE those things). My mom had the same career for forty years…she sold drugs.
They both were had to deal with– long hours, going to work and coming home in the worst weather, missing important…
She worked in a pharmacy! She filled prescriptions! Pharmacy tech. She wasn’t like a drug dealer…no, like the legal kind…oh God…
Anyway, they both paid their dues and I’m very proud of what they went through to make sure my sister and I wanted for nothing and never knew how hard they struggled until we were older. So, after all the years they did everything for us, when they asked us for one simple request, of course we had to do it for them. They simply asked to let this event go by without fanfare. No party, no big acknowledgement, just let them punch out and go home…
…yeah, we totally ignored that and started planning a barbecue.
Yeah, yeah, yeah – respect their wishes, they ask nothing of us, yadda yadda yadda, we gots to get our party on.
My sister and wife took care of the food prep, my brother-in-law was going to run the grill, and I was in charge of the decorations…bwahahahaaaaa. Game on!
We had to make sure both of them were equally represented – pharmaceuticals and plumbing supplies. Piece of cake. First thing I had to do was decorate my sister and brother-in-law’s deck. Patio lights! Easy peasy, right? Wrong! Can you believe they don’t make pill bottle lights?! So, like they say, when life won’t give you pill bottles, buy them on Amazon! Okay, so that might not be what they say but it’s what I did anyway. Who loves his parents enough to order pill bottles in bulk off the internet and most likely land himself on an ATF watch list? This guy!
But how do we ensure equal decorative representation for the padré? Luckily my sister has the same twisted mentality as I do (no doubt we’re related) and suggested a toilet for the chips. Of course the dip would be kept up in the toilet tank. Who loves his parents enough to make a toilet they can eat out of? This guy!
My brother-in-law and I ran to the liquor store for some crappy wine (we’ll save that debacle for another night) and we were good to go. The family showed up, the food was cooked (only one minor out-of-control grease fire), the cake was decorated, and we waited for the guests of honor.
The looks on their faces as they drove up made all the planning and work worth it. Because after all the years of raising us, all the sacrifices they made, all the hours they worked, all the bills and paychecks they had to shuffle, all of those feelings of exhaustion they overlooked to play with us, all of the literal blood, sweat, and tears that were shed so we didn’t have to – my sister and I finally learned the greatest lesson from our parents: that same angry look they gave you when you didn’t listen that scared the hell out of you as a child is ABSOLUTELY hilarious and fulfilling to see when you’re an adult and ignore their one wish to not have a retirement party. TOTALLY worth getting grounded in my 30s.
“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” ~ Abe Lemons