Witnessing your parents becoming octogenarians is a paradox. You’re so grateful for the amount of time, love and wisdom they have imparted, but on the other hand, you see the demise of your lifelong heroes. Where is the strong father that ran alongside my pink, banana seat bicycle teaching me to ride? Where is that beautiful mother I wanted to look like when I became a woman?
I am pleased I saw them resurface when we went on a magical adventure to the Delaware Park casino. A wondrous transformation occurred when we proclaimed we were picking them up in an hour. The first sign of rejuvenation was a change in their tone as they literally giggled when I told them of our destination.
We arrived at their apartment and they were actually ready. Usually when I pick them up I have to wait as they meander around looking for their glasses, keys, inhaler, canes, etc. As I attempt to be patient, my mother exclaims, “don’t rush me, I can’t stand to be rushed!” That was not the case because when we opened the door they had the expression of, “What took you so long?” on their faces. It made me reminisce how my children looked whenever we went to Disney. Today my aging parents reminded me of children: happy, anxious, full of life, children.
Let me tell you they were dressed, as my mother would say, “ to the T.” She was wearing a V-neck black with white shirt, black pants and a matching purse. She looked amazing. My dad donned a navy blazer, a checkered navy, green and white shirt, with black pants. My handsome daddy had returned. Years had melted from their faces.
We arrived and took advantage of the valet service. We stepped in and as they perused this fun-filled mecca they realized what a treat they were in for. Moving toward the slot machines they followed the whimsical sound of ringing bells and neon flashing lights. The task at hand is to find the right machines, not easily accomplished for this picky pair, I’ll have you know. Mom says the machine has to have a certain feel while dad insists on a progressive machine.
As usual they disagree on where to play. Finally a compromise is made. We go where my mother wants to go. She somehow convinces dad it was his idea to play there and both are happy. My husband shakes his head in disbelief. My mother finds an acceptable machine and is winning while my father continues to drop $20 after $20 into his. She insists I play two seats away and I begin to win.
I am up $221 and she “hints” it is time for me to quit. I acquiesce to appease her and she adds, “See, didn’t I tell you to play over there? I still gotta tell you what to do!” I smile as we exchange that special look only a mother and daughter who love each other so much can. I have my dad take over my winning machine and he begins to win as well. A smile forms on his lips and there is no place he would rather be.
We suggest trying our luck next on the ponies and they wholeheartedly agree. We win a few races and lose a few. Sounds like life to me. We have to pull them away to a delicious dinner at the Legends restaurant. (I highly suggest the crab cakes!) We eat (too much), drink (not enough), and we laugh (just right).
For a while they are young again and that, my friends, is what I call winning.