|our family at "our" presque isle lighthouse.|
My parents are my best friends, my number one supporters and probably two of the coolest people you'll meet. Not everyone has the type of relationship with their parents that I have with mine, and that's okay.
But then, not every family is the same. Some families don't have a mom and dad. Some families have divorce and remarriage. Some families have two moms or two dads. Some only have one parent. Some families don't have kids (because they don't want to or because they can't - judging people for not having kids is just wrong either way). No family will ever look the same because it doesn't have to. Family does not have one set definition.
But I'm going to tell you a little about mine.
When I was growing up, I think we had it pretty good. Right after I was born we moved into the house that my parents still live in now. It's an old farm house, and it needed to be fixed. We lived in the house while it was being remodeled (or partially rebuilt, since they added a whole extra floor and the porch as part of it). At times there was pokey, raw wood on the floor instead of carpet. One summer our living room was in our garage. The house looks beautiful now. My parents did some of it (painting, wood trim, etc.) on their own. A lot of it, actually. But then, I believe them to be part of a generation that doesn't just throw things away to get new.
|my dad and me|
My mom taught first grade for 36 years. Considering that I coach swimming for 7-8 year olds about 3 hours a week and I sometimes go crazy, you have to understand that my mom is one of the most patient people you will ever meet. If you don't believe me, spend most of your year with 30+ 6-7 year olds and see how you feel when you're done. Plus, for those of you that think teachers don't work in the summer, believe me - the good ones do. My mom was always prepping things for her classroom or taking a class herself.
I know my brother and I were brought up differently than some kids. We didn't have an allowance - we were expected to do chores and help around the house as contributing members of the family. We didn't get paid for grades. We didn't just get things because we wanted them (at least not all the time). We didn't get a birthday party every single year. Maybe we had McDonalds sometimes - it wasn't an every day or even every week thing but a once-in-a-while treat. And you know, we had to go to a babysitter after school sometimes. Which really just meant we had another chance to interact with kids, and to try out toys we didn't own.
There may have been times we did too much. And maybe there were times when my parents thought they were giving us too much. But I promise you, both my brother and I turned out okay - or more than okay.
You see, I went to college, picked my own major, graduated, and knew exactly what I wanted to do. When I got my internship (and then my job) in Colorado, my parents didn't dissuade me from going. They wished me luck and drove me here. My brother has figured out what works for him in his life, and while that isn't the exact same thing as me, it works for him. My parents have supported my decisions (and my brother's) and have allowed us to become independent, functioning adults. I live on my own, I make my own choices.
My parents taught me the most important things in life. They taught me to always be honest, and kind, and to work hard. They taught me that it's important to try hard and do your best. They taught me to get along with others and to be respectful, but to be assertive if something isn't right. And really, they have taught me that it's okay to be myself and have my own beliefs.
While I am incredibly grateful for my family and the lessons I have learned in life, I know not everyone has the same upbringing as I did. But the thing is, we don't need to compare ourselves to others or try to one-up the person next to us. I'm not going to pretend I work harder than someone else, and I'm not going to say what my parents did was right and everyone else is wrong - I don't know what other people are going through. I am just going to do the best I can for me, and one day for my family.
And my parents taught me that.
What did your parents teach you?