To my parents (and truly, any other parent whose child grew up to be a parent, too):
Thank you for loving me. Period. There are so many times that the love you showed me only went one way. There was no return and no immediate result from the love you showed me, but you did anyways. Your love for me has shown me how to love my daughter.
Thank you for choosing to discipline me. At the time, I didn’t understand it. At the time, I probably didn’t agree with it. Now I’m glad you did and grateful you did, too. After countless attempts and many tears (from Emma AND me), I now understand just a glimpse of how hard it was. Finding a way to teach your child to obey and not crush their spirit at the same time is a hard thing to accomplish and I pray everyday that we can do it. Disciplining your child is a time consuming, thankless, heartbreaking job. I cling tight to God’s word here and I’m sure you did, too. (“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9)
Thank you for choosing to have me. In a world full of so many choices, you choose to give life to an unexpected pregnancy, rather than take it, and raise a child. I’m grateful everyday for the life you’ve given me. I’m even more grateful for the life you’ve given me with you all as my parents! (please note here: abortion or adoption were never on the table with my parents- I’m just being thankful that it never was).
Thank you for giving me a brother. I am so glad that not only was I raised in a wonderful home, but four years later, I had a brother join me. I grew up with a constant companion and to this day, still have a best friend because of it. I’m grateful for my parents deciding to have another child, which in turn blessed me with a sibling.
Thank you for believing in me. Despite how crazy my dreams seemed (and still do sometimes), you believe in me. You encourage me. You have never taught me to do anything less than strive for my dreams and pursue them. You’ve also taught me it’s ok sometimes to not get where you planned on being and it’s always ok to change your mind. You taught me to be a dreamer and a realist all at the same time and that is something that is hard to teach.
Thank you for introducing me to Jesus. You brought me to church, you talked about Him in our home, and you made Him a part of our lives. You never forced Him, but rather, you let me find Him. I am so grateful for this. My salvation is through Jesus Christ alone but I thank you for helping me find Him. This will forever be the thing I am most grateful for and the thing I pray that above all else we share with Emma.
So thanks mom and dad. I pray my life is a reflection of what wonderful parents you all were and still are. As one of my friends, Carrie, so eloquently put, “(raising children) is the hardest job you’ll ever love. Even my worst days are often better than my best days before…”