When I was growing up, I never truly understood my parents.
They were an odd lot…always insisting I be in before dark, wanting to know where I was at all times, catching me in the act of something mischievous. They made jokes and gave me a lot of freedom. They made sure I had clothes and food. They always made sure I was as happy as they could make me. All of my friends called them Mom and Dad even if they had just met them.
They ALWAYS made sure I knew they loved me.
After just over 33 years, my parents still have a strong relationship. They rarely fight (though sometimes bicker). They understand each other in a way that I someday hope to understand another person. They have shown me that strong marriages and relationships do exist.
I didn't always think this way. I was a child and teenager just like everyone else. I rebelled and hated it when they punished me. I snuck out and hated it when they caught me.
The most interesting thing, the most reveling thing, was what my friends thought about them. All of my friends loved to spend time at my house. They actually thought my parents were cool! It never failed to shock me when they told me this. I thought all my friends were insane!
It took me a long time to understand what my friends were talking about. I would spend some time at other people's houses and see the difference in the respect that parents gave their children. My parents did so many things that others did not.
For starters, they cared about my opinions. They cared about what I did with my time. They cared about who my friends were. They taught me that life isn't always fair, but at least I can bounce back from the pain. They allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. They showed me that love isn't just a myth or a fairytale…it really does exist.
They gave me a Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Fourth of July fireworks.
They taught me to be independent. That relying on someone is good, but standing on my own two feet is better.
My father gave me a sense of humor, my mother a sense of strength.
Most important, they gave me life and freedom to believe that anything is possible. A freedom to choose my own personality, religion, and relationships.
I know my parents know I love them, even though I fear I haven't told them nearly enough. I know I've never said thank you to them for all the things they taught me. I'm afraid I'll never pay them back for all the good things in life that they gave me.
I love you Mom & Dad, and Thank You both for being who you are.