A couple days ago, my dad celebrated his birthday. He probably wouldn’t want me to put his age on the internet, but let’s just say he’s got more than a few gray hairs. Though I couldn’t be there to celebrate, my family FaceTimed me so I could see him open the “groovy” Hawaiian shirt my sister and I picked out for him. (Like he doesn’t have enough of those already.)
I got to thinking about my parents after that. I’m not one to experience homesickness, but of course I miss my parents. For eighteen years straight, I lived with them as my primary authority figures and inspirations. And dude. They’re pretty awesome. So I decided to write something for them while I can.
To my wonderful parents, the man and woman who raised me:
You’re the only people who have been around since the exact moment I was born. Thanks for taking care of me when I wouldn’t stop screaming in the middle of the night, and for driving around the neighborhood at 3 in the morning so I would fall asleep. You let me dress myself in mismatching outfits, put my American Girl doll clothes on the cat, and be my absolutely bizarre child self. You went to my Fourth of July caul-de-sac parades every year, even though one of our floats was a mini trampoline turned on its side and rolled down the street. You let me be a weird kid anyway.
I’m glad you took me up north to the beach when I was just a couple weeks old. In fact, I’m glad you didn’t hesitate to take me on so many journeys before I could even talk. Though I don’t remember some of those early car rides, they probably set the precedent for my love of travel. And thank you for that, by the way. Sometimes I grumble about not having the swankiest furniture or most luxurious shoes, but altogether I’m thankful that you spend your own hard-earned money on experiences for the whole family. You’ve taken us to some pretty incredible places over our lifetimes, and the wealth of information we’ve gained is worth more than any fancy vintage couch. (and Disney World > new shoes, tbh)
Thank you for working so hard—it’s something I never say, but I am grateful you put so much into your careers. I may not have been proud to say that my mom was a “forms design specialist” when I was in fourth grade. But I’m proud now, because I realize how imperative a role you play, and how you endeavor to create the best darn PDFs the insurance world has ever seen. And dad, thank you for taking a risk with your career back when I was born. Becoming director for a new nonprofit organization was chancy. But now you’ve become part of something wonderful for our church, and RYS is turning 20 this year! Thank you for not giving up; thank you for having faith.
You’ve also blessed me in the way you’ve both lived out those virtues you impressed upon me. When I was fifteen and told you I wanted to write a book, you told me to do it. When I said I wanted to publish that book, you backed me up. That’s insane! Why in the world would you support my craziness?! You even loaned me the money to buy 100 copies of that book, then acted as my personal agents and set me up with interviews in the newspaper and on TV. How did I get so blessed to have parents who believed in me that much?
Thanks for putting up with my phases and latest obsessions. Mom, I can’t believe you actually got up at 4 in the morning and spent the entire day on the streets of Detroit so we could try to catch a glimpse of One Direction before their expensive concert. You’re the real 1D VIP. And dad, I know it must be hard to have daughters who are nowhere near as obsessed with sports as you, so thank you for understanding and respecting our own interests.
You went to my orchestra concerts, tennis matches and plays (even when I only played a mountain in seventh grade). You consoled me when I lost a match; you cheered me on every time I won a tiebreaker. You listened to my horrendous practicing for years, before I even knew how to hold a bow properly. Then you went to hear painfully out-of-tune fifth graders play collectively on Friday nights. Nearly all of your free time was (and is) spent on your children!
Thank you also for imparting on me the greatest gift you could ever give—the gift of your faith. I am grateful for all the bedtime Bible stories, devotional books, dinnertime prayers and help with catechism lessons. You have truly blessed me with your faith and love.
All of this was in addition to the roof over my head, the meals you made after long days at work, new clothes for every season, a Christian education and all your love.
Thank you for raising me. You are the finest parents I could ask for!
All the love,
P.S. Sorry this got so sappy and long-winded. That’s what happens when you’re the daughter of two writers.
P.P.S. I miss you!