My parents are getting older. They’re in their sixties now. While that’s still relatively young by today’s standards, they can’t do things like they used to.
Every time I visit home, one or both of them is hobbling in some new way. Hips, knees, shoulders, ankles. Their bodies are slowly falling apart and sometimes, it’s all they can do to get through the day without contracting some new ailment or injury.
Last week I was over there watching TV. I stretched out on the couch while my mom and dad sat in their respective favorite chairs, two high-back red leather recliners.
As usual, my dad controlled the remote. He flipped through the channels, clicking and clicking, slowly ticking off my mom. I could feel the frustration seething off her. Finally, he set the remote down on the ottoman between them and Mom immediately snatched it up.
She clicked the TV from a football game to a chick flick on Oxygen.
“Turn that back,” my dad said.
“No, I will not. We’ve been watching what you want all day long. It’s my turn.”
I tried not to giggle as the situation unfolded before me. It’s rare you get a chance to see your parents as people too.
My dad rested his hands on the recliner’s arms and leaned forward, preparing to struggle up. He said, “Don’t make me come over there.”
Mom rolled her eyes and crossed her legs.
“I’m serious,” my dad said.
“Go ahead,” Mom taunted. “Try it. You can’t catch me.”
They gave each other their best game face for a few seconds until both burst into laughter. Then my dad leaned back in his recliner, resigned to watching a chick flick.
Sometimes I forget that underneath their age spots, graying hair, and deepening wrinkles, my parents are still just a couple of teenagers at heart. I can only hope to grow old with someone I can’t catch.