Hospitality Beyond Words

Well, it wasn’t so bad living in my parents’ basement for four months. And when I say it wasn’t so bad, I actually mean it was incredible.

Tonight we will spend the final night with my mom and dad in what was my childhood home. It is truly bittersweet. By us leaving my parents’ house, it means that my family’s next era in our beautiful new house will finally begin. It means more independence, a better air conditioning system, and many happy memories to come. But while all that is certainly “sweet,” it doesn’t account for the “bitter.”

What a privilege it has been having my kids live under the same roof as their grandparents.

To put it in simple terms, my parents treated us like gold. But before they spoiled all four of us, they spoiled me. As I chronicled before, I spent a weird and surreal two months with my parents before my wife and children arrived. As I started a new job and the coronavirus started to shut the country down, I missed them terribly. But my parents were there to support me and keep me sane. They made sure I was as comfortable as possible and extremely well-fed. Even though I longed for Sid, Sloan, and Beau, I tried to take advantage of the opportunity I had to spend time with two people who I didn’t see nearly enough over the past 15 years. As we were locked down in the house, the three of us would watch movies, take walks, and enjoy lively dinners at the kitchen table. It was so nice to re-connect.

My dad and I in April, prior to my family arriving in Spokane.

When my family arrived on May 8, I was overcome with joy. As Sidney and I looked for housing, I told myself in the meantime to relish the rare gift of living under the same roof with the five people I love the most. That set my tone for the next two months.

But whatever that tone exactly was from my vantage point, my parents didn’t just meet it; they exceeded it. When it comes to Sidney and I, it is almost impossible to jot down everything they did for us. Rather, I think I can just give a few examples that convey how welcoming and selfless they were.

My dad with Sloan and Beau.

I am talking about things like them frequently telling us to go out on dates while they watched the kids. Or letting us park our car in the garage even though it meant they had to park theirs in the driveway. Or stocking the pantry with our favorite foods. Or preparing Beau’s changing area each night so it was ready for us when he got up in the middle of the night. Or, better yet, the numerous times when they would simply get up with him themselves. Or the weekend mornings when they told us to sleep in. Or how they took a whole day to haul all our belongings in Pullman back to Spokane. Or how they simply opened their house to us without any expectation of receiving even the smallest thing in return.

I could go on, but do you get the picture? Even with all this, the best part of the past two months was just watching my parents love our kids. The way they bonded with Sloan and Beau was an absolutely beautiful thing to watch. I seriously don’t know what my mom is going to do when we head across town to stay at our new home tomorrow night. She will finally have to hand Beau over which I know will be hard considering she has pretty much held him since the day he arrived. When it comes to Sloan, I know my mom will miss nighttime stories, making coffee together, and visiting neighbors.

The way my mom connects with Sloan and Beau makes me happy.

As for my dad, he is a softie. Every single morning before he left for work he would admire Beau as he rested in his rocker and when he arrived home he would hold him the second he walked through the door (when my mom would actually give him up). With Sloan, it has always been about making her laugh and allowing her to be his special helper. Whether it be planting vegetables, using the hose, or doing yard work, Sloan was often by my dad’s side…and he loved it.

My dad and Sloan grew a lot of vegetables together, including potatoes.

THANK YOU, mom and dad. Aside from loving us so unconditionally and authentically, you also set life examples for us that are invaluable. We will miss you, but 30 minutes away sure is a lot better than 3,000 miles away. Don’t Blink.

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