“I also believe that parents, if they love you, will hold you up safely, above their swirling waters, and sometimes that means you’ll never know what they endured, and you may treat them unkindly, in a way you otherwise wouldn’t.” – Mitch Albom
I’ll never forget the first pair of Jordan’s I got. I’m pretty sure that I bugged my mom and dad about them forever, and they eventually got me a pair. All of my friends had at least one pair, and I wanted them so badly. Even back in the early 90’s, these shoes were probably still in the $100 range, but I never thought about the cost. I just knew that I had to have them.
What I didn’t realize then, but certainly do now, is what buying that pair of shoes meant to my mom and dad. If I remember correctly, I was in 5th or 6th grade when I got them, which means that I was one of 4 kids. My parents both held down jobs of at least (and often more than) 40 hours a week and were supporting a family of six. That hundred dollar hit for a pair of shoes probably set them back on an already tight budget, but they made it happen. They always did.
I knew growing up that we weren’t rich, but I definitely never felt poor. By age 21, my parents had two kids, and would have two more within the next few years. That being the case, I knew we weren’t well off, but they never made it seem that way.
Household chores were a big part of our lives growing up. Man, I hated doing chores, and I didn’t really try to hide that fact. As it turns out, this was one of those things that I never really appreciated until I was older. I still don’t really love doing chores around the house, but I understand the value of doing it. It was about pulling my weight, developing a work ethic and gaining a sense of pride about our home. I get that now, and Judson will soon have his own chore list. (For the record, I still can’t stand cleaning baseboards.)
Even as a 34 year old man, I talk to my mom several times a week to ask for advice and, more importantly, for perspective. My Mom has given me more perspective on things I’ve struggled with than any one person I’ve ever known. She knows when to be compassionate, and also when to tell me I’m being ridiculous. My Dad and I have been coaching baseball together for more than 10 years. He and I offset each other so well in this regard. On days where I feel like I’m going to lose it, he balances me out and brings me back down to Earth. I’d like to think that I do the same for him.
Being the time of year that it is, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the things that I am thankful for, as a lot of us have. My parents are extremely high on my list. Even as an adult with my own family, I lean on them regularly, and they never fail to come through. I am thankful for the example they set, the values they instilled and for putting up with me when I was less than gracious and a general pain in the butt.
Take a second today to thank your mom and dad, or whomever you consider to be the people that raised you. I’m quite sure they’ll appreciate it.
Since I’m way better with the written word than I am I with the spoken one, just know that I appreciate that pair of Jordan’s now way more than I did then. Thank you, and I love you.
Have an awesome Friday,