Thank You, Mom and Dad
Written on August 11th, 2015
This post has also been published by The Odyssey!
Mom and Dad,
Thank you for being the absolute best parents I could ever ask for. I know that kids are biased and we’re all probably inclined to say that our parents were the cream of the crop, but I know for a fact that you two truly are. Everything I am I can trace back to you – moments of your support, your morals, your teaching. You are, and always have been, my foundation in this life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You never forced me to be anybody. Through every weird phase you stood by my side, showing me unconditional love and telling me I was beautiful. When I thought I liked metal music you politely listened to the songs I would show you; when I became obsessed with a boy band years later you did everything you could so that I could see them live. You’ve never once shamed my obsession with stuffed animals, even when I was a fifth grader carrying around a plush bunny. I know these seem like small things – your complete acceptance of me should just be a staple of being a parent – but knowing I always had a place in our home was instrumental to my development. I was allowed to love whatever I loved and be whoever I felt like being, and you never inhibited this vital exploration.
Not to say that I could just do whatever I wanted – we both know how untrue that is. You’ve always laid our clear rules and expectations for me, and you’ve never hesitated to explain your reasoning. Through this I’ve been able to understand not only why you’re doing what you do, but also how it reflects the depths of your love for me. I was always allowed to ask questions, to compromise, to communicate and even argue. You were lenient in the best way: never wavering on your morals but always being open to a new manner of looking at things. Your boundaries kept me safe, but they never suffocated me (even if I may have acted like it at the time).
Your amazing ability to communicate with your children as equals extended into other areas, too. You’ve never kept “adult” things from me; even if there was something that I didn’t quite understand, you always avoided being condescending in your explanation. You’ve been open to talking about finances, the realities of marriage, and so much more. From a young age I feel that I’ve been able to develop a solid grasp on some of the world’s most confusing technicalities all thanks to you. I was raised to manage money from the time I could count it and learned the importance of both saving and giving. I was able to watch you two love each other and never stop loving for every single one of the eighteen years I’ve been alive (and I know there were more before that). You have led not only by example, but also by open conversation. Whenever I have a question, even now, I know that I can ask “why?” and you’ll do your best to respond with an honest and reasonable answer.
But more than anything, you two have always been there for me. It goes beyond just acceptance and communication; you have actively fought for me in this life, and it’s only as I get older that I realize the full extent. When I was in elementary school and my cool gel squeezy thing exploded all over my pants on the bus you didn’t hesitate to bring me a new pair immediately, even though it meant leaving work and messing up your own day. When I joined the waterskiing team you didn’t pawn me off on another family or just drop me off and leave – you sat through every single practice and show, watching my progress consistently even though it stole four evenings from your week. When my best friend abandoned me like I was nothing right before senior year you were the ones who were there to listen to me. You reminded me of my value but you also reminded me not to let someone else’s actions make me bitter. You let me vent but kept me in check. I can’t thank you enough.
The list of your most amazing, selfless moments goes on forever. When my AP Calculus exam got messed up and I found out the morning of that after so much preparation I’d have to wait to take it on the makeup day, you didn’t make me feel silly for calling you bawling. Instead you left work and drove me back to school even though it was just across the street, making sure I was okay. When my summer job involved taking little kids hiking and we accidentally awoke multiple bee hives you offered to come pick me up because I was worried about my stings. No matter how far away I am from you physically, I’ve never felt alone.
You’re always there for me. You’ve shown me more love in eighteen years than some kids get from their parents their entire lives, and I know fully just how lucky I am. Thank you for being the kind of parents who really do deserve those “World’s Best Dad” mugs or to have their kid in a shirt that says “My Mom Rocks”. Thank you for everything. I appreciate every last thing you’ve done for me, and I love you so much.
Your youngest little girl,