My brother and my aunt (my mom's baby sister) have been visiting Pillville.) They arrived on Thursday afternoon from Iowa and are leaving tomorrow morning to return there.
It has changed the basic equation of everything here in Pillville to have doubled the population. It's made me realize the enormity of my job in Pillville as the sole resident child, the sole blood relative, the sole responsible financial planner, the sole cook and medication dispenser, microwave hot pack heater, chauffeur, and cheerleader.
I'm not really into second-guessing myself. Not into regretting. But my life as my mom's caregiver would be substantially different if I were doing it in Iowa. I left my hometown when I was 17 and never went back except for the summer after my freshman year of college. I tried going back after I'd quit college and had just returned from a year in Europe. I began working full-time at the factory job I'd had part-time my senior year of high school. It wasn't good. The way I remember it is that I left my mom a note after packing my bags on impulse one afternoon after I'd gotten off work: Call them and tell them I quit. I'm on the bus back to Minnesota. (Where I went back to college.) So that was that. And now my mom lives with me in California thousands of miles from the rest of her relatives. Sometimes I think she'd like to leave me a note.
She says she wants to die in Iowa. Let me know when, I say, so I can buy the plane tickets. Planning is good. But sometimes you just have to pick up and go.
Other residents of Pillville of late include this pair of ring-necked doves. Last week we spotted one. But now there are two. I'm happy they have each other.
And here's my mom and her baby sister, the last two surviving siblings in a family of seven kids. I'm glad they have each other.