After we are born, we rely on our parents to give us nourishing food, a warm place to live, comfy clothes and a safe environment. As we get older, we find our independence. We feel invincible and able to conquer the world. We no longer rely on our parents as much.
As a teenager I struggled with understanding my parents way of expressing love, compassion and generosity. There were times when they had my best interest in mind yet I felt as if they were smothering me. For instance, my friends would go to the movies and hang out but I wasn’t allowed to go. At the time, I felt they were trying to control me. I felt I wasn’t given the opportunity to grow and mature.
When we get to a certain age, something in our life changes. We get married, have kids, and soon find ourselves living across country. It’s only then that we start to realize how important our parents really are. Or at least I hope we do.
I come from the East coast – New England – and lived there with my parents for the first 35 years of my life. When I married my husband, I was whisked away to Wild Wonderful West Virginia. It was challenging for me because I had left everything I knew behind. From there we moved even further away to the middle of the Pacific ocean. Hawai`i was a tropical paradise but it wasn’t New England. Today, seven years later, we live near San Francisco still 2,400 miles from home.
At the end of January I had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks with my parents. It was just them and me. It didn’t take long for me to feel like a teenager again. I had made a comment about needing another suitcase if I bought too many souvenirs. Because I said this, my folks went out of their way to find me one. They spent the day driving me to the mall and to two different outlet malls. I tried again to tell them that I didn’t need another suitcase and it was only if I bought too much stuff. I began to feel like I wasn’t being heard.
My AH-HA moment arrived.
I was so busy thinking about myself that I didn’t even consider that they were trying to help me. Talk about feeling like a donkey.
There were a couple more situations like this during the two weeks but by the end of the vacation I understood that this trip was not about me. It was about them. I was so thankful to have the time to spend with them. What a precious gift. Although, it took me some time to realize how precious it was.
My dad is going to be 79 this year and my mom 76. I am so grateful they are still here and I can call them when I need them. They are not retired and they are so busy and they do so much for my family, myself and anyone else that may need help. They are the most selfless, loving, compassionate people I know. I can’t think of a finer example for their seven children and eleven grandchildren.
People really need to consider how precious their parents and family are because they will not be around forever. Just ask someone who has lost a parent, sibling or family member. There is no greater gift in this world than your parents. Cherish every moment and talk to them. Find out what their life has been like. I’ll bet you’ll find it more interesting than you think.
P.S…You can always start researching your family genealogy and compile your research in a book for generations to come. Check out Families Across Time for helpful information on how to do this.