Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #3

#3: My parents

I always grew up liking my mom and dad, but I never knew just how lucky I was to have them, until I went to college. I just assumed that everyone had parents like mine. They weren't perfect, and there were times that I was unjustly punished for things that I didn't deserve, but overall, they were incredible.

I can vividly remember sitting in my "The Art of Family Communication" class at EMU and we were all discussing our families. It was like I experienced pure shock as I listened to my fellow classmates discuss their parents and how terrible they were. I guess you learn from others, and through that class (it was like therapy), I realized just how lucky I was to have the relationship that I have with my parents.

I think I'm most grateful for the relationship that I have with my dad. Growing up, I was always closer to my mom and unlike most of my friends that were "daddy's girls" I was always a "mama's girl." I have a very different relationship with each of my parents, but I am still a "mama's girl."

My dad and I weren't close while I grew up. I always respected him (immensely) and always wanted to please him, but I just always felt like I never lived up to his expectations of me. There was always something that I did that made me feel like it wasn't enough and he wasn't as pleased as he could be. Of course, this was all in my mind, and not something he said or did... but I always tried to make him proud and tried to please him. Moreso than my mom... probably because I always felt that I could fail with her and she's still love me and be proud of my effort. With my dad it was different.

I always wanted a close relationship with him and I always dreamed of feeling like I could talk to him about anything, but I just never had it with him. 

Then it happened. 

I don't know what the turning point was, maybe it was my divorce, maybe I matured, who knows. All I do know is that I am closer to him now than I've ever been in my life and it's incredible. Maybe I stopped worrying so much about pleasing him and making him proud. I really can't pinpoint the turning point, but something changed and it's awesome. He calls me randomly... like if he's sitting at a railroad crossing waiting for a train to finish passing... or if he sees something on tv that reminds him of me, he'll call. It's so nice.

I can say that he and I have had a closeness the entire time that I've been with Steve. Steve doesn't know a time in my life when my dad and I weren't close. He only knows what we've got now, and he likes it too. My dad has always liked Steve and it's been so nice to see them get along like they do. My dad welcomes Steve into our family like he's his own son. He's super supportive and has been there to help us countless times.

My mom, well there's not enough time in the world for me to write about her. She's incredible and amazing and has always been there for me. I know when she's around I harass her and give her a hard time (sorry mom), but it's done out of love. There's nothing I'd rather do than spend time with her and I love being around her. She's such a good person and cares so deeply about me, I really am lucky.

I hope that I can be the kind of parent to Gus (and future children) that my parents were for me. They raised three wonderful kids that they love very much, they respect, and they still take time to see. My mom and dad make us kids and their grandkids their priorities, and they make sure to tell us that they love us and that they're proud of us. To see them as grandparents is weird, but wonderful. 

I'm so blessed to have them both in my life and to have the solid relationship that I have with them both.


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