“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
In the past, I’ve used this day to thank all the people in my life who’ve helped me become the person I am today.
I wanted to do something different today because I realized I’d never written a thank you to my Mom or Dad.
I’ve been hesitant to write about them. I barely knew my Mom. What I know is she was my biggest and strongest advocate. Even though I am sure I challenged her every single minute of every single day, she allowed me my space. My Dad and I certainly had more time together. Even with all those years, I don’t think we really never knew each other. I think we both thought we’d around to it one day–we’d both taken small steps in that direction but time snuck up on us and caught us both off guard.
My mom and dad met each other later in their lives. I’m sure World War II had a lot to do with that fact. My mom was the middle child of her family and my dad the youngest of his much larger family. My mom lived at home with her parents, working a full-time, thinking she’d never marry. Being 27 years old when she married my dad, she always told me she was sure she was bound to be an “old maid.” My dad had been married before, marrying his high school sweetheart soon after he returned from the war. Sadly, shortly after they married, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She died soon after that diagnosis.
They Mom and Dad worked at Montgomery Wards in Fort Dodge and met at a local dance. Mom said when they met that first night, she knew immediately Dad “the one.” As a kid I thought that was the most romantic story–I can still see myself move very close to her and ask her to tell me the story of how they met one more time. In my mind, this short little story was every bit as beautiful as any ol’ Cinderella story.
They married and moved to Kokomo, a little community outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1953 that was a long way from Fort Dodge, Iowa. There were no planes to jettison anyone across the country. Long distance phone calls were very expensive for the average person. I think back on my days alone in Denver and sympathize with my mom. How alone she must have felt. She’d never lived by herself–always living with her parents and close to her sister and brother. This move may have been easier for my dad since he’d been overseas in the war, but I’m sure he was dealing with some degree of post traumatic stress along with the memories of losing his very young wife.
Through it all, they made it all workout.
I arrived in the early morning hours of September 25, 1953, and their lives were never ever the same.
Thanks, Mom, Thanks, Dad.
As I age, I see so many things in such different light. I sure wish you were here to share your thoughts, your stories, and your wisdom. I admire you, love you, and miss you.
Thank you for me.
“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”
― Kahlil Gibran