If my parents ever doubt my overwhelming devotion to them, they need only look to exhibit A:
I am still living in Connecticut.
They are the only things tying me to this godforsaken suburban box where winter lasts for 7.5 months and you can buy a 1000 sq ft split-level for roughly the price of the South Dakota governor's mansion.
I'm bitter because it's cold. I get this way toward the end of every January, though my inability to deal with it gets worse with each passing year. I am seasonally affected and dis-ordered. I can't get myself together. I would like to sit in the bathtub beneath a heat lamp and read for the next three months straight, but then my skin would fall off and the authorities would probably take away my kids. Instead, I put on two sweaters and turn on every light in the house. I do the best I can. But my February best is nowhere near good.
The Partner and I stay here because of our parents. It's not just that The Boss and Number Two need babysitters; the truth is that we all genuinely appreciate the company of grandma and grandpa, nana and poppy. There's no sacrifice involved. We're lucky to have them and we take full advantage of this time we share.
Still, in the depths of winter, when my lethargy allows me to do nothing but dream, I have visions of barrelling south on I-95 in a Penske truck that will keep going till the thermometer hits 70. I imagine getting out, stretching my arms in the rising heat, and reducing to tank top and shorts. All around are people in a similar reach, tied to nothing but the sun.