Mom and Dad Were Nearly Empty Nested

Today, I downloaded the Jetpack app onto my phone and I noticed the little writing prompt from Day One integrated in on the landing page. And I couldn’t resist.

What were your parents doing at your age?

My parents were 42 in 1997. Actually, my mom was – my dad was 44. At that point, the nest was almost empty for them. It remained me hanging around in high school. It was my senior year.

My dad must have been teaching me how to drive by then. Dad is the best driving teacher because he taught us to drive defensively. We shouldn’t expect that everyone else is driving the way they’re supposed to be driving. We have to use our peripheral vision, so to speak, and look out in every direction for ourselves. Dad also always told us – on Friday nights especially – “Watch out for the crazies.” (Did your dad say this to you, too?) It meant, keep your eyes open for drunk and crazy drivers who are partying on the weekends. (My oldest daughter is likely going to get her learner’s permit this week. I think I’ll be telling her the same.)

I have a very poor recollection of what my parents were doing in 1997. I know my dad was still working at Crane Naval base. And mom at that time… oh, yes, actually I remember. She was still working at the daycare – Parents Day Out – run by the First United Methodist Church, located in downtown Bloomington, Indiana. I remember it now because during the second semester of my senior year of hgh school, I had study hall for the last period. Having no use for the “class”, I began ditching and trekking the two miles from Bloomington High School South to Parents Day Out, and I would help my mom clean up the daycare spaces at the end of the day. She had taken on the extra job as custodian after her regular hours as daycare teacher. The first time I showed up at her place of work, she was surprised, but she never seemed to mind or worry about me. I asked her recently if she realized that I had ditched study hall to walk to her work place, and it appears she had no clue.

FUMC in downtown Bloomington, Indiana (photo credit: Nyttend via Wikimedia Commons)

Besides taking care of me, I also imagine my parents were worried about my older sister and brother, who had both moved out to Colorado. My brother worked at a camp in the mountains. And my sister lived around Denver and was a nanny for some rich doctors’ child. I’m not sure how worried my parents were, actually. But, we did go out to visit them at one point around that time and I remember something about my brother getting frostbite in his extremities.

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