Seeing as Mother’s day is already upon us, today is going to be a parent related post.
I am lucky. My parents are pretty awesome, although they do have their moments of being stubborn and difficult. But, I had to get it from somewhere so I feel like I really shouldn’t complain.
Sometimes it really strikes me just how much influence parents have on their children. If you really think about it, how many qualities and mannerisms do you somehow absorb from your parents? I got everything from my Mom besides her dark, curly hair. My eyes, my voice, my attitude… Sometimes it scares me. I got my height, my compassion, and my love of history from my Dad.
My parents confessed to me that having children is one of the scariest things they’ve ever done because they felt like they were going to get it wrong. It’s not like children come with a manual, and lord knows that every single child is special. And when I say special, I mean every child is a confusing pain in the ass that you somehow still manage to love. I was a terror when I was a child and everyone in my family has agreed on that. My poor sister had to handle endless torment, and I never listened to anything anyone tried to tell me. It was an adventurous childhood to say the least.
Now that I’m older and thinking more about settling down and having kids of my own one day, I’m starting to pay attention to how unnerving being a parent really is. My parents never sheltered me. I have always had access to anything I wanted and nothing was ever kept a secret. My parents discussed the provisions of their will with my sister and I, we know how much money our parents make and how they spend it, retirement accounts, our health insurance plan, auto insurance plans… All of this information was discussed and presented instead of handled “by the adults”. Growing up, this was stressful at times because I wanted to be a kid and I really wasn’t interested in this world of grown up stuff. But now that I’m actually here, I realize what a gift they gave me.
Instead of being perpetually confused, I already know how things work. Open enrollments, taxes, interest financing, mortgage loopholes and pitfalls… I at least know what questions to ask if I have to deal with something complicated. But more importantly, my parents also gave me a course in finances.
My parents never paid anything beyond the basics, we actually didn’t really have the money. I was kept fed and comfortable, but as soon as I got a job my finances became my responsibility. Car repairs, insurance, gas, clothing, extra food, educational supplies, and college were all laid in my lap. This was not a surprise. My parents had always told me that I needed to go to college, but that they were not going to pay for it, so I needed to plan accordingly. On their advice I worked 2 jobs to put myself through school. I spent little, I got scholarships and slaved over my grades to keep them, and I managed to graduate 3 years in advance without any student debt. I’m not stupid, I know that I was able to do most of those things because of them. I might have done the work, but I would have never had the knowledge or the incentive to move forward had they not mentored me and pushed me when I wanted to give up.
Now that I’ve been graduated for a year, I’m working on my career. But that doesn’t mean I need my parents any less. The next thing will be buying a new car, after that I’ll be buying a house. I’m not afraid of moving on, but thanks to my parents I know how big of a job it will be and how much dedication and responsibility it is going to take to really be out there on my own.
The parent factor has been huge in my life, and I’m only one example. So tomorrow when we recognize our Moms, let us really think about all the things that we’ve been able to do because of them. And while we are at it, maybe send some love our Dad’s way. For those of us who have only one parent, I think that single parents should get recognition at least twice a year.
So get out those sappy cards and boxes of pancake mix! No matter who we are and what relationship we have with our parents, we all need to understand that we are here because of our parents. That is something to be grateful for, and we need to show that gratitude no matter what feelings we have towards them.
To all my followers who are Moms, my utmost respect will always go to you. And when I do have some munchkins of my own, I will need all the advice I can get from you. Moms are always good for that kind of stuff…