Twenty-one years ago this month, I moved to Oklahoma. Just a few months after the Y2K madness and less than a year after I got married. Like I have surely told you before, I thought we would live here for a few years and then go somewhere else. Where? I have no idea. I was 23. Who knew I would be laying down roots?

Last week, my parents packed up, headed north over the Red River, and began their retirement in Oklahoma. My brother Billy moved here a few years ago with his son Chase, and now just my baby brother Beau is the lone holdout, living the bachelor life in Portland. For the first time since I was in college, almost my entire immediate family is back in close proximity to one another.

Most of my friends here have always had their parents living nearby, but my entire adult life I’ve been hours away by either plane or car. However, it took no time for me to revert. I went and checked on my parents Wednesday night (their first night in the new house) to see how the unpacking was going. Then I went out to dinner with some girlfriends. On my way home from dinner, I thought to myself, “I should call Dad and tell him I made it home.” And then I remembered that I am 44 and don’t usually tell my parents my whereabouts unless I am driving/flying home several hours after visiting them. And then I also remembered they can probably track me on their Find My Friends app just like I track Annie.

I hope that Oklahoma will be as good to my parents as it has been to me. The lack of traffic is going to blow their minds after so much time in Dallas, Houston and Portland. I hope they make friends fast and that we get lots of chances to hang out without having to pack clean underwear and a toothbrush— although we all know it never hurts to have those items on hand at any given time.

After this nightmare of the 12 months, it’s comforting to know my parents are nearby again. If I want to go shopping with my mom, I can just meet her in half an hour. Or if I want to play hooky and go to the movies in the middle of the weekday, me and my dad can share a bucket of popcorn. And if Annie has a choir concert in the middle of the week, they will get to be there.

What a blessing.

Holly Rosser Miller has lived and worked in Muskogee for 20 years.

 

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