My parents are visiting, and while they’re here, they’re looking at houses. With their two kids now on the east coast, there isn’t much left in Texas to hold their interest. A few days ago I talked with my dad about some of the things I’ve experienced associated with the layoffs and he reminded me of his own story. He survived no less than five layoffs with Mobil Oil before they merged with Exxon, the move that finally brought stability to the company and preserved the oil industry. He retired with ExxonMobil just this year, but there were many times when he thought he would be on the list to go. Before it happened, there would be a new rumor every day and people would lash out at each other from fear. After it happened, the people that left said things about him and believed he said things he never did. For awhile he thought he was losing a lot of friends, and then after awhile, he realized that people that behave that way were never worth worrying about to begin with.
My mother has gone through a long year of ovarian cancer treatments. Every time she goes in to see the doctor, he shakes his head with disbelief. She is still here. My parents never wanted to hear the odds because people aren’t statistics; statistics have very little to do with the progress of the individual. They are planning to move here, regardless of where the future takes me, because they would rather enjoy the time they have left than wait for a possibility that may never come. No one is entitled to a job. No one is entitled to have their slightest hurt feeling massaged. No one is even entitled to ten more years of living without cancer giving the final say in the matter.
As I put a pumpkin pie in the oven, I am reminded of how blessed I am, for this year at least, to have my mother chopping celery at the table. It comes down to this: my father retired in January after 30 years of service to his company. On his last day of work, he turned off his computer, packed his things, and waved to the few co-workers around to witness the event. He walked out the door, and went home to spend time with my mother, still recovering from her surgery in October. What’s really important is hard for us to see sometimes, but life invariably defines it for you. Merry Christmas everyone.