Day 4: Meet The Parents

Yes, I fell off the wagon of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge, but I haven’t given it up entirely. Thanks for being so patient for this next installment: Day 4—Meet the Parents

What can I say about my parents? I am probably closer to them than the average 30-something—not only because I currently live with them. I have a very open and honest relationship with my mom and dad, sometimes too much so. Yet I appreciate that more than not really knowing them at all.

Src: joyerickson.wordpress.com

We have a complicated history, partially because my parents have a complicated history. I grew up thinking we had a perfect family. That’s what everyone said. My two older brothers and I had cool parents who were still married to each other. My dad played bass in my brother’s rock band. My mom looked many years younger than she actually was, and she somehow managed to be everywhere for three kids who played three or more sports each. My parents never argued. They gave us so many things, both tangible and intangible, and our family trips were legendary.

Yet behind all that were some secrets that I discovered by accident when I came home from school one day at the age of 12 or 13. A few years later and over the course of time, a story came out about my parents that I was shocked by. I felt betrayed, as if I didn’t really know them as well as I thought I did. Their marriage hadn’t been as perfect as I thought it had been. My parents were human and flawed!

After therapy and many, many talks with my father, I have reconciled my visions of my perfect family with a great childhood with wonderful parents who struggled more than I ever knew. I recognized the strength and courage they have, the amazing capacity for forgiveness, grace, true love that withstands the storms and battering of time and comes out even stronger and more beautiful as they grow into their older years.

My parents have aged gracefully, looking and behaving years younger. They still hold hands, truly enjoy each others company and love to travel together, whether it’s a short ride to Vermont to see the foliage or a trip across the country, to take in all the tastes and sights on Park City, UT. They will be renewing their vows this December on their anniversary.

They are very proud grandparents now. Watching my father grow into the grandfather role is a beautiful thing. In my early childhood, I don’t have as many memories with him as I’d wish beyond teaching me music, but he made up for it with art projects, storytelling, road trips, brainstorming for school projects and just by being a cool all-around dad as I got older. So seeing him so active in the lives of my very young niece and nephew and having so much fun with them is awesome.

My mother is such a beautiful person, inside and out. She was always there in my childhood, reading me stories at night, teaching me all the things that would make me succeed in school, cheering me on at my sports games and meets and always being an ear for me to talk to and a shoulder for me to lean on. She is still so much that way today.

Both my mother and my father have been amazingly supportive and patient as I have been on this incredibly long and frustrating, sometimes quite scary, struggle with my health. They have been there with their time, their presence, their love and their cheers.

My dad has challenged me not to give up and to fight harder to get where I want to be. He has driven me around kingdom come for the last almost two years.  He has sat in doctor’s offices, steered the wheelchair, driven me to dates, town hall meetings and interviews, while also taken me to run my errands. I have thanked him many times with words and hugs, but I stunned him when I got him an iPad for Father’s Day.

When he said, it was too much, I replied, “For the times when you have to wait for me in the car or waiting room for so long. I can thank you so many times with words, but I just want you to know how much I truly appreciate how much of your time and energy you give for me.”

My mother shifted her life to work out of the home full-time so that she could be there for me whenever I needed her care. I know it was very stressful in the early days when my health was so chaotic, and it meant so much to me just having her sitting next to me while she typed away on her computer—I wasn’t alone.

Today was her last day of work. She dropped off her badge and computer, and happily retired. It gives me great joy to see the woman who has worked so hard for our family to finally get some rest. She will sleep. She will travel. She will have time to rediscover her passions and discover new ones for the first time. She deserves an incredible retirement. Both of my parents do together.

I love them both more than I can possibly express in words. They are an inspiration, two of my best friends and the best parents a girl could have.

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4 thoughts on “Day 4: Meet The Parents

  1. Glad to see you haven’t given up on the challenge. Your parents sound truly supportive and loving, which is what I hope all parents strive to be.

    • Thanks. It’s nice when people are able to maintain positive relationships with their parents; I know we are not all so lucky.

      I remember how hard it was on me living on the complete other side of the country from my mom! It was a great growth experience, no doubt. Yet it’s also nice at this stage to be with them as I’ve needed, and to also be close enough to watch my very young niece and nephew learn about life. 🙂

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