MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME – AND HE DID My husband and I were delighted when we finally retired and planned to move into our new home in sunny Florida. We carefully chose the lot and builder and in the blink of an eye, six months passed, and the house was halfway completed. Wanting to be sure the construction went as planned, we began packing. Our goal was to rent a small house until it was time to move into our own permanently. Three of our four children were married, three of them with their own families. One lived in Connecticut, two on Long Island and ironically, one on the east coast of Florida. While it would be heart-wrenching to leave three children and their families behind, we were glad we still had a son and his family close by. A three-hour drive and we'd be at their door – or vice versa. That eased the tug on our heartstrings. The excitement of doing what we wanted and when grew. No more rising early and commuting to jobs only to face traffic again on the way back home – and all do it over again the next day! Retirement was looking really good. However, we promised our children we would visit as often as possible but also, we wanted them to see our new home. We volunteered to pay the airfare for their first visit to Florida. “Our treat", we promised” The sad part was that we could not get all four children to make the trip at the same time. Their work schedules just didn't sync. When the time came for each to visit, we advised them to pack lightly. We had a new washer and dryer and saw no need overloading suitcases especially when two of them had small children to worry about. Our youngest son took that advice to heart. We made the arrangements for the visit for Richie and his fiancé. As promised, he called as he left his apartment for the airport. We mentioned we wanted to check the internet for flight information so we would not be late picking up him and Christie. He said not to worry about that because he wanted to rent a car to experience driving around Florida. Richie always was independent, so we agreed. When they pulled into the driveway, my husband and I hurried out the door to meet them and saw he rented a beautiful, red pickup with a hard-enclosed bed. They opened the bed cover and our soon-to-be-daughter-in-law pulled out a small carry on case. Our son on the other hand pulled out two exceptionally large duffel bags. Jokingly I said to him, “What did you do bring all your dirty laundry?” He looked from me to his father and then back to me. A wide grin spread over his face as he said, “Well you did say you had a new washer and dryer. I just thought you might want to check it out, and break it in, so yeah I brought my laundry.” There was about two weeks' worth of dirty laundry. We hugged and had a hearty laugh as I showed him were the laundry room was. I showed Christie to the guest bedroom and she unpacked her clean clothes. Looking back on that day still makes me smile. After all, we did tell them to feel right at home and make themselves comfortable. He sure did as he spent the next two days doing laundry and we spent the next two days entertaining him and his fiancé while he did.

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