This post is part of “30 days of Giving Thanks” To read more within this series, click here.
They always say that children are a gift… But so are good parents!
I have been fortunate to have grown up with the same two parents and lived in the same house. Until recently, I never appreciated what a blessing that was. We went through some very rough patches, especially during my early high school years, but my parents were bound by a connection stronger than personal feelings—they were committed to God. God held them together through good times and bad and they both came out ten times stronger.
My mother has worked outside the home for as long as I can remember. In spite of being exhausted at the end of the day, she would fix dinner, keep the checkbook balanced and even do multiplication flash cards with me. When I was in high school, she and my dad would give up their Saturday every so often to chaperone our band competitions. Every week from the time I was 11 until I turned 17, she faithfully took me to clarinet lessons. She worked hard and even planned great family vacations to places like Yellowstone.
I firmly believe that whether you stay home with your kids or work outside the home, it doesn’t make or break your value as a parent. My mother always did what she could and she did it well. I appreciate her so much!
My father worked as a hospice nurse for several years—and still does. He is the one who instilled in me a deep and abiding love for books and stories. I remember being very small and he would tell me stories using my stuffed animals. As I got older, he would recommend books for me to read. When I was in high school, we would go on walks and talk about various things from history to church matters to movies. He always seemed to have an answer for any bible or theological-related question I came up with. The few times he didn’t, he would tell me he’d research it and get back to me (and he always did).
Was our family life the paragon of perfection?
Can you show me a family life that is?
I want to share a brief memory from my senior year of high school that illustrates how amazing they are:
It was the first time my parents had left me at home on my own for more than a few hours. They had left town to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. I walked into the dark house and there were some letters on the counter, all of them in #10 envelopes. My teachers had told me that college acceptance letters only came in large envelopes; rejection letters came in #10s. My heart sank as I saw an envelope with the Cal Poly logo on it. I had been rejected… I must’ve been. It was a small envelope.
Rejection…. and I was alone to deal with it.
I tremulously lifted the envelope and broke the seal, pulling out the single heartbreaking sheet.
Instead of “We regret to inform you…” I was rather shocked to see in black and white “Congratulations!”
I had been accepted?!?!
The sudden ring of the phone made me jump.
It was my parents. I couldn’t contain my elation. Before even asking about their trip, or even if they were ok, I had to tell them.
“I got accepted to Cal Poly!” I burst out.
“Yes! We know! It’s wonderful!” My mom replied.
“How did you know? The envelope wasn’t opened.”
I could almost hear my mom smile through the wires as she confessed, “We held it up to the light before we left. We didn’t want you to be home by yourself if it had been a rejection letter.”
I was stunned. I’m not exactly sure how the conversation went after that. I just remember great warmth spreading through my heart. They had been willing to cancel a special vacation for a special occasion just so I wouldn’t have to deal with the rejection alone.
That’s the kind of parents I have—the type that don’t consider parenting an inconvenience. The type that didn’t give us everything we wanted, but tried to ensure we had what we needed. The type that love us more than themselves.
Thank you both!