Anthony was sure that he had never seen his parents happier. In the years that they had been married, they had certainly seen their share of adversity. The family had always been close and Anthony was the only child left in the United States. All three of his older brothers had taken work overseas, two of them with the same company in India. Anthony was the youngest, however, and still living relatively close to his childhood home.

Essentially, that left Anthony with primary care of his parents. It wasn't as if they needed much, but there were fewer things they were able to do as they got older. Age, it seemed, was taking a toll. However, to Anthony, lately they had seemed happier and more spry.

mountains and clouds

He was thinking about it when they came in to the kitchen together, looked him over and took seats on either side of him.

"We've been meaning to talk to you about a few things, son," his mother said, patiently. Anthony let out a quick laugh.

"I promise," he said. "I'll never be late again." He laughed heartily. So did his parents, but, then, with their usual sweetness, they quieted him and each other. His mother started talking.

"Anthony, it's no great mystery that we're getting older. For years now, we've worried about certain inevitable events. Now, we're not worried anymore." Anthony just stared at them, shocked and refusing to listen.

"Listen," his dad chimed in after a short protest. "We've taken some time and gotten together all the arrangements. Really, it's just so that you and your brothers don't have to worry. It's all paid for, all decided."

After discussing this for a while, Anthony's resistance to the subject at hand lessened and he was able to see just what his parents were talking about. Then, he found himself relaxed, just like his parents.

"You know what, guys?" Anthony said when they were done talking. "I can totally see your point. It never ceases to amaze me just how far you two will go to ensure our happiness. Thank you."

"You're welcome," his mother said leaning in to cover his hand with hers. "But, don't be late again."