When I got married, I broke with some traditions. We didn’t have chicken, beef, and pasta…we had fajitas. We sang our vows to each other.  Our best man and maiden of honor were Rod’s (now our) kids. And I had both my mom and my dad walk me down the aisle.

For me, it wasn’t really a question. My parents go hand in hand. They have been married for nearly 40 years and where one is, the other is usually close. They raised Jerry and me the same way. There was no pitting one against the other, no sneaking behind one’s back. You might think you’re confiding in one or the other, but it’s only a matter of time before beans are spilled.

(except when it came to surprise parties, or as I call them, torture. I think we’ve put a moratorium on them, until my 40th (!!!) and then, you all better be in on something amazing).

During the most difficult part of my life, reconciling mistakes and lies with grace and second chances, I lost a lot of people. Most of them were friends, and many of them have returned and been reconciled to me since then. But some of them were family, and they’ve been lost to us. Some forever. And because Mom and Dad, in spite of, shall we say encouragement to do differently, stuck by me when it wasn’t pretty, simple, or easy, they lost people too. In a big way.

Even when they had a hard time being my biggest fans, they have always been my most loyal supporters.

And in April, when Rod and I said for sure, for real, it’s time for us to go, they let us…no guilt, no pressure, sincere sadness, enthusiastic assistance (in the form of 16 hours on the bus with my children), and promises to at least consider maybe relocating, perhaps…

When I tell people my stories, the ones in which I must introduce my cast of characters, I usually preface with something like, “If you met my mom and dad, you would think I am adopted.” Other than the fact that I look more like my mom every day, and I have my dad’s temper, and I have my mom’s screech, and I have my dad’s sensitivity, and I have my mom’s sense of doom, and I have my dad’s sense of culinary adventure, we’re not much alike. I take the bull by the horns, and they are more passive. I figure it out as I go along, and they plan to the minute detail. I am always late, and they are always early, or at worst, right on time.

But here is the thing: the fact that my parents are timid doesn’t make them weak. And the fact that they have been responsible and loyal and generous even if not necessarily big risk-takers still makes them heroes. And what they are about to do makes them surprising and courageous in a way I could not have imagined.

I’m impressed. I’m beyond grateful. And I am happy to announce South Carolina’s newest unofficial residents beginning mid-October:

…well, they are coming to stay for a few months anyway. I’ve offered shared custody to Jer & Gina, so we’ll see how it goes. But there is a Par 3 next to the girls’ pre-school with Dad’s name on it, and Mom has been waiting since my nephew Andrew was a baby (he’s now 12) to be Caretaker Gramma, and God knows we need some help right now, so… (thanks for the blessing, Jer, and…)

Thank you Mom and Dad….for always walking with me, and now, for embracing the rock star, ocean breeze, Chicagolina life. May it bring some of your best times yet.