It took me 15 days to get to a serious topic–probably because the little things in life are so much easier to verbalize than people who have truly changed your life. So today I will be brave, and begin at the beginning.
Today, on Day 15, I am thankful for my parents.
It’s so funny to look back at my baby picture and see my parents when they were younger than me. They were (and still are) such a handsome couple. Who knew that these sweet people would one day scare away high school boyfriends with the threat of guns and knives? Surely not these people…
My parents have forever been my biggest supporters. My encouragement. My protectors. My inspiration. My dad taught me at a young age that in order to be the best, you don’t have to have the most talent, you just have to work harder than everybody else–a lesson he taught me when I didn’t make the softball all star team. After a full year of working harder than anybody else, I made the team and had the highest batting average of anybody on there, not because I was big or strong or even particularly good, but because my dad taught me to play a position nobody else wanted to play, and taught me that consistent singles are much better than the occasional home run. On those teams my dad taught me how to lose with dignity, and how to play as a team.
My mom taught me to love books. As kids we weren’t allowed to watch much TV but we had unending access to library books. As a trained reading specialist, she taught me to read at a very young age, and even though I could read long books on my own, each night before she put me to bed she would read novels to me–The Little Princess. Little House on the Prairie. Those are some of my sweetest childhood memories.
As an adult, I still take most of my book recommendations from her, because I know if she likes it, I probably will too.
My parents fell in love at Baylor, and they brainwashed
taught me to bleed green and gold like them. All of their children followed in their footsteps by going there. (But I did rebel and marry an Aggie.)
They raised us going to Rangers games, and it was a sweet moment to go with them to the World Series in 2010.
My parents taught me to be a life-long learner, modeling the way through attaining advanced degrees and winning prestigious awards, while never becoming elitist or proud. My father has been an accomplished CEO and graduate professor, and my mother has received too many teaching awards to count, including being named Reading Teacher of the Year for all of Dallas-Fort Worth and having her school yearbook dedicated in her honor. I am so very proud of my parents.
Because of the way they raised me, I never even considered not going to college – I just assumed that was what everybody did. When it came time to go back for my master’s degree, it was my parents who continually encouraged me not to quit on those dark nights when I felt swamped with assignments and tempted to throw in the towel. When it came time, three-and-a-half years later, to walk the stage for what should have been a two-year degree, my parents were there to help me celebrate.
They were also there when I snuck out early from the graduation ceremony to go eat Mexican food. My family loves to eat.
My parents taught me some valuable life lessons – including how to handle money. In my sweet ignorance I didn’t realize you could charge things to a credit card and not pay them off every month until I was already out of college. I just had no idea that debt was even an option – because it was something that our family never used. It saved me from a lot of problems.
My parents were there for me during the long post-college years when I waited, and waited, and waited to meet Mr. Right. They comforted me during breakups and helped my times of being alone to feel anything but lonely. They have a wicked sense of humor that can make anybody laugh until they hyperventilate (or in my case, an asthma attack), and I treasure the many weekly dinners at Corner Bakery and Spring Creek.
Now that I’m a married woman, I am thankful that they have set a healthy example of marriage for me to model. After 36 years of marriage they’re still best friends and make a fantastic team.
I am most thankful for the truths they taught me about the Bible, about how much my Jesus loves me, and how a life lived with purpose is so much better than a life lived for yourself. Thank you for teaching me Bible verses as a young child, for training me at home and setting me out on a life-long journey of faith.
So to my mom and dad… I am so very thankful for you.