Every year, one event in my life causes me more stress than any other. No, it’s not tax season or trying to identify that post-Stampede rash, it’s not even having to pretend the Flames are actually going to make the playoffs. It’s when my parents come to visit.
Calgary is a city full of people who’ve moved here, from one side of the country to the other. So dealing with the folks coming to town is something that we’ve all experienced, likely with varying results. This week, as my parents touched down at the Calgary airport, I instantly began sweating and worrying, which is ridiculous. My parents are pretty cool people, so what exactly am I worried about?
Even though I haven’t lived at home in seven years, as soon as mom and dad walk past baggage claim, I almost immediately lose the independent persona that I’ve established for myself. Within minutes, my petite mother is teaching me how to drive on the Deerfoot and my dad can’t understand why I’m using my phone to find a truck that apparently serves food.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy my parents visiting, because I do. I love how my list of things I wish I had for my apartment gets shorter and shorter with every generous trip to the IKEA and having someone explain to me the difference between the 27 screwdrivers I’ve somehow amassed is always incredibly helpful, as is their COSTCO membership. But what exactly am I supposed to do with the two people who used to change my diapers?
After so many visits, I’ve established the best way to entertain my parents and to keep them from asking “the tough questions,” is to keep them as busy as possible. Since their last visit, the Peace Bridge and Devonian Gardens have both opened, but that’ll only occupy one tenth of their ten-day visit.
Maybe if I had my act together, things wouldn’t be so stressful. I’m not sure that moving into yet another apartment, where I’m using a twin bed as a couch is impressive to them. And since I’ve essentially traded in my car for a bike, we’re limited to public transportation, where they insist on paying for every single CTrain ride.
This is exactly why I’ve always been envious of those Calgarians whose families live in places like Saskatchewan. It’s far enough away that it limits too regular of a visit, but close enough to go home for a long weekend and get your laundry done. In the end, I am grateful to have my parents here, even if does stress me out. Now, if they’d just start listening to the curfew that I set…
Mike’s parents aren’t on Twitter, but he is at @mikesbloggity.