Today is my father’s birthday, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Two days, back to back, to give honor to my parents. And they deserve the honor. What I am today is largely due to the love and guidance that they have given me through the years. The first 18 were direct, the rest of the years that followed they have more distant, though nevertheless a strong influence.
You can say what you want about parents of today; many have lamented the parenting skills of today’s parental group. It doesn’t matter what is said about the general public, I am grateful for the skills that my parents offered to me. Discipline, love, laughter, encouragement, strong work ethic, unconditional support; all of these were a part of my parent’s toolbox in raising me.
I got my laughter from my mother. I also got my fun. Though my father can laugh at a good joke these days, it was my mother that passed on the mischievous gene to me. Laughter has saved me many a time, diffusing what could have possibly been some difficult situations.
I also got my musical skills from my mother. She gave me all she had. She has none left. Thanks, Mom, I think I’ve put it to good use!
I got my discipline from my father. And a strong work ethic, I believe. You might say that it was in the genes, but I believe it’s a learned trait. We have a saying in our house, “go the extra mile.” My dad taught me that. He gave me my first job as a custodian and taught me hard work and an attention to detail. He taught me to stand tall with my shoulders back. It has served me well in some instances.
They both taught me unconditional love and and consistent encouragement. When I went off to college, they told me I could be a musician and I would do well. After I graduated, they informed me that they never believed I would do it, but they weren’t going to say it. They told me I could at every turn. When those times came when their son fell and made mistakes, and I’ve made plenty, they have been there to support me and love me. Even when they were big ones.
Today my father turns 82. I hope and pray I will be as productive and energetic as he is at this age. He still works, still challenges others, still trains preachers and ministers. He still teaches a Sunday School class at his church every Sunday and reads veraciously. He stays up with his grandchildren through his new iphone and through texting. And he will be driving cross country in a few weeks to see his youngest granddaughters graduate from high school. Yep, he’s amazing!
Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday. As she turns another year older, she turns a milestone for the two generations before her. She is the creative one, still making quilts and clothes and whatever can be made with a sewing machine so she can pass it on to others. She cares for those in her neighborhood and volunteers at the local food pantry, managing the monthly statistics on a computer. And, did I mention, she’s always up for some fun!
I am blessed. I am honored to be a part of their legacy. Happy birthday, Dad, and Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You two are the best!