Do you remember when you were a kid and you were absolutely mortified when your parents showed up to pick you up from an event at school? Or even worse, when they offered you advice, in front of your friends, on what you should do about something? How about my all time favorite: when you would purposefully avoid them at all costs just because they were “parents”? Wow, I look back at my childhood and am sickened sometimes to think of the child I once was and at the same time, grateful now that I have parents that loved me through all this and love me still today.
I finally felt as I had come full circle the other day when I called both of my parents, just to talk, and neither one picked up. Were they ignoring me? Surely not. Surely I hadn’t reached a point that I was suffocating THEM. I’m sure this wasn’t the case but I had to laugh at myself. What I use to think was normal was not so normal anymore. I have finally become a parent and even though I will continue to grow, I just want to take time to say “thank you” to mom and dad for the following:
*Loving me unconditionally. My parents gave me the closest definition of someone loving me regardless of what I was like. There was nothing I could do to make my parents love me any more…or any less. They gave me a true example of what Christ’s love is like for me before I even knew who He was. I pray that JR and I will model this same love for Emma as she grows.
*Liking me despite who I was. There were times that it was easier to love me than to like me. I’m sure my parents had moments that it would have been easier to ship me off and start over, but they kept me. Not only did they keep me, but they worked at our relationship and I never once felt like that didn’t like me. I can’t imagine that was easy and it was probably a daily task to do from ages 11 to 13 but they did it. Just like any relationship, it takes time to grow and you have to nourish it. My parents did that well and I hope to not only love Emma well, but like her well, too.
*Being my parent first so they could eventually become my friend. My parents never seemed to have a problem telling me “no”. They never seemed to waver in their decisions when they punished or corrected me for something I did wrong. Looking back now, I can’t imagine it was ever easy to fight me on all the things they did. Sometimes I’m sure it would have been easier to say “just go ahead, Erinn” but instead they stood their ground. They remained my parents first and foremost so I would grow into the woman I am today and I thank them daily for that. I now am able to have a HUGE respect for them because of this. I am now able to call my parents some of my best friends. They were able to focus on parenting me for the short term so we could be friends for the long term. Does this mean we always see eye to eye or agree on everything we do? Not at all, however, it’s grown from correcting to guiding. I am so grateful to have parents to go to for guidance as well as parents to call my friends. I pray that JR and I can stay strong here so we can grow to have the same relationship with Emma one day.
*Teaching me responsibility. There was never a time in my life that I remember things being handed to me on a silver platter. Sure, my parents did things for me but there were also responsibilities that fell on me. I had chores to do. I had to behave a certain way. I had expectations on my grades. I was required to be a role model for my younger brother. My parents didn’t slack in the responsibility department and I know that has helped me in today’s society. We live in a world that bases so much on what “I deserve” or what “I am owed” that we forget- we don’t deserve anything and we’re not owed anything, either. We will raise Emma this same way so she comes to understand she has responsibilities in life that will grow from her childhood to adulthood.
*Giving me an example of marriage. My parents had their ups and downs in marriage and when I was ten years old, my parents planned to separate and possibly divorce soon after. By God’s grace and intervention, He was able to place people in their lives that guided them on the right path and showed them that quitting wasn’t the right answer. Their relationship has grown from one of the verge of ending to one of the strongest I have ever seen. I have watched them fall into the lowest depths of marriage and rise up to what God planned for marriage to be. It is a great model for JR and I to follow and also show Emma.
These are some of the things my parents have done for me and reasons why I love them so very much. My parents have made such a difference in my life and JR and I want to make the same difference in Emma’s one day, too. With models like this, we’re off to a great start. So, “thanks” mom and dad- you’ve done more for me in this life that you will ever know. I love you all!