29 Things I Learned from My Parents


On August 28, 1959, my dad was born.

Just over one year later, on November 10, 1960, my mom came into the world.

They grew up separately, less than a half hour apart. They met at some point in high school and dated all through college. They fell in love, and a little bit later my dad knelt down on one knee in the middle of a park to ask my mom to marry him.
They set a wedding date of August 7, 1982. Twenty-nine years ago today.

 Twenty-five of those years have been spent raising me, my two brothers, and my sister. I'm biased, of course, but I would definitely say I have the best family.

Jordan will attest to the fact that I never laugh as hard as I do when the six of us are together, and my mom and I talk on the phone regularly.

So on this day, their 29th wedding anniversary, here's a shout-out to my parents. I've been blessed with an amazing family. I know many people can't say that same, so some of my sentiments maybe sound cheesy or fake, but I mean it when I say that my parents are seriously awesome. I could write a lengthy list of the many, many things they've taught me over the years. But here are 29 (in no particular order).

29 Things I Learned from My Parents

1. When I was little, you gave me spankings and washed out my mouth with soap for being sassy. You always said it hurt you just as much as it hurt me.
I didn't believe you then, but now I understand why it was necessary.
Thanks for showing me discipline.

2. You made me say "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" when you wanted to make sure I understood. At the time, I didn't, and I hated you for it.
But, like the soap and the spankings that made me cry, I get it now.
Thanks for teaching me respect. 

3. Dad, I never knew quite what to expect when you decided you wanted to take a spontaneous weekend family trip. But I learned to not ask questions.
"Just go with it," you'd say. Thanks for teaching me about family bonding.

4. We never flew anywhere (except for that time we went to Hawaii). You told me driving to our destination was half the fun.
"After all," you said, "the vacation starts on the way there and doesn't end till we get home." Thanks for teaching me to enjoy every moment.

5. As our family grew, I learned that you can, in fact, fit six people and a whole lot of luggage into a car for a sixteen-hour-drive and make it there and back alive.
Thanks for teaching me the importance of packing light.

6. It's important to be able to laugh at yourself.
Since everyone else will laugh at you regardless, it's just more fun that way.
Thanks for teaching me to laugh at myself.

7. "Don't dish it out if you can't take it." That's what you told me.
Thanks for teaching me to take a joke.

8. I'm competitive, and sometimes when we played games as a family
and I wasn't winning, I got a little...upset.
Thanks for teaching me (as best you could, anyway) how to be a gracious loser.
(And that if I kick my brother in the leg after he beats me,
I will be banned from family game night.)

9. Dad, one thing that made you the most mad was when I stormed out of the room during an argument, pounded up the stairs to my room, and slammed the door.
Thanks for chasing me down all those times.
Thanks for teaching me not to slam doors.

10. Mom, you would get so mad at me for being sassy, but afterward you always hugged me and told me you loved me.
Thanks for teaching me how to forgive.

11. Sometimes we didn't have much, but you always did your best to make sure
I had what I needed. Thanks for teaching me that money isn't everything.

12. Mom, over the years I've watched you be so patient with Dad when I know he's driving you crazy. Thanks for being my example of patience.

13. Mom, thanks for weathering those terrible middle school years.
You proved that once you reach the other side, mothers and daughters can get along.
And quite well too.
Thanks for being my friend.

14. Mom, I will never forget all those family dinners we had growing up.
I remember wanting to leave the table, but you and dad
made me sit there until everyone was done.
Thanks for showing me the importance of sitting at the table together.

15. When I was a teenager, I remember you drinking wine and beer occasionally, and when I asked for a sip, you said, "Okay."
Thanks for making me feel grown up, even when I wasn't.

16. I love birthdays. Thanks for always making mine so special and
teaching me how to make it special for others.

17. I remember Sundays growing up, when I'd wake up in the morning
and wish I didn't have to go to church.
But you made me get up anyway. You said I'd thank you some day.
So thanks.

18. You told me that when it came to boys, never settle. That when I found the right one, it would be worth the wait. Well, I waited, and I found him.
Thanks for keeping me focused.

19. These days, 29 years is even more of an accomplishment than it ever used to be. And though I've seen you fight, I never once heard the word divorce.
Thanks for being my example.

20. When I make chocolate chip cookies, people wonder if I've used a different recipe. They say they're the best they've ever tasted. (At least, Jordan does.)
Mom, thanks for all those years of letting me "help" you bake cookies.
I know I really just got in your way more than anything, but I never felt unwanted.

21. I remember the exact moment I found out I was going to have a little sister.
Thanks for making another (surprise!) baby and teaching me how to be a big sister.

22. I don't fancy myself a good interior decorator. But you are, Mom. Our house always looks so polished. Thanks for telling me to hang things at eye level.
(And for rehanging stuff that I've hung too high.)

23.  I feel like I have a good handle on my finances.
Thanks for setting up a solid foundation for handling money.

24. The first time I went to a grocery store alone, it took me forever to find what I was looking for. Thanks, Mom, for always answering the phone when I called you from store and for
patiently explaining where stuff was.

26. You sometimes went without so that us kids could have something we wanted.
Thanks for showing me generosity.

27. When I first started playing the violin, I know it sounded terrible.
Thanks for letting me stick with it and for pretending I sounded good.

28. Even when I mess up, I feel confident and comfortable coming to you with a problem.
Thanks for listening and for your help and advice. I couldn't do it without you.

29. There have been times when I've walked into the kitchen and seen you kissing.
I always pretended to be horrified. And I was, a little.
But I'm blessed to have parents who are still in love after 29 years.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, thanks for loving each other.
You guys are the best.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!
LHawk said...

I'm not gonna lie. This made me tear up a bit.
Curse you, Reese!

But really, it was great. Now I feel like I should go call my parents.

Anonymous said...

It might be sleep deprivation. It might be the number of items I nodded along with and thought, "My parents did that too." It might be because truth is beautiful. It might be because you've expressed yourself well.

But...whatever the reason, this touched my heart and made me cry. Thank you for sharing.

Happy anniversary (and congratulations) to your parents. I'm so glad they met and made you. :)


Amanda said...

Laura, sorry to make you tear up at work :)

Audra, making you cry *is* one of my goals for any post. So...success for me! :) Glad you liked the post and could relate. (And I'm glad your parents met and made you!)

Carly said...

This is so sweet. I'd love reading this and all of your posts :)