Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanks Given - Day Thirteen

Today I'm thankful for my parents. They both came to mind today at different times so I thought it appropriate to write about them tonight! I will not do them justice...

Here's a super old photo of the fam. I think it was Matt's Senior Night, which would have been 2000. I just happened to have this one close by so I thought I would use it tonight.

Today, we received a note my dad wrote to Tom and I about an article he found that we thought we may like and he sent the article along too. The article was a printout of a web page that he could have easily just have emailed, but he didn't. These days, it's just not that common to get real letters in the mail. In fact, the only other hand addressed piece we received today was junk mail. Junk mail that was actually hand addressed by some poor sap sitting in a cubicle hand addressing fake frequent flyer rewards in South Dakota. They know we'll open it.

I digress...

My dad has always been quite the example. I always thought we were so much alike and we really are. Growing up, I always thought it was because we both liked pepper and we both loved to read. Now, I realize it probably goes a little deeper than that. :) Dad has always been a shining example of how to do for others - both in his actions, his money and his time. I don't think I realized just how busy he was when I was a kid because he was always at everything, had time to help with times tables and almost always made it home for dinner. Now, as a parent who is still MUCH less busy than he is even now, I realize what an effort he had to make to do all of that. He has set a great example of how to be there for his own kids and yet still be involved in the broader community and take care of "their kids." He has taken this to the next level by being the leader at a bank that strongly encourages community service, outreach and monetary donations by its' employees. I have a hunch that he has played a strong hand in encouraging the community activities of the "local" bank.

And, I can't forget to mention what a strong, hard worker he has always been and putting in his time for so much more than a paycheck. Now that no kids are home, it's not uncommon to find him at work on a Sunday afternoon getting ready for the week. Oh yeah. He works Saturday's too. My favorite dad quote? You can't win if you don't finish.

And, my mom came to mind tonight as I was struggling to get the kids' wonderfully nutritious dinner on the table - bagels, yogurt and apples. When I was young, we had a home cooked meal together a family almost every night. And, how many times did I come home and say, "What's for dinner?" and then proceed to groan. Ugh. How I wish I could take all of those groans back now!

Again, I digress...

When I was kid, I would have always labeled mom as a stay at home mom. Why? Well, it was simple. She was always home when we were home. Or, it seemed that way anyway. In reality, she graduated from college when she had a huge belly full of me. And, worked as a teacher for two years before Matt came along. If I remember correctly, she took a few years "off" while Matt and I were young tots. I say "off" because we all know what it means to be at home with two youngsters. Not to mention, I know she worked at the YMCA running a Mom's Day Out program and probably did a bunch of other stuff too that I've never thought to ask about. Then, when we were in school, she volunteered for everything under the sun. I specifically remember that she did kindergarden screening for the little ones going to school and helped determine if they needed early intervention. Finally, when I was in high school, she got hooked up with A Call To College as a volunteer and soon took over as Director. She has now built that from a simple $500 grant program for high school seniors to a multi-grade, multi-year scholarship, multi-employee, early access program (with a large fundraising/endowment arm) enabling hundreds of students to get a post-secondary education. Until recently, I've never really thought about the balancing act she had to do as a parent.

One other realization I've had in the past few years is how much I am really like my mom. I won't go into detail here, but we are so very similar. As I'm sure all moms have done, I find myself almost daily saying something my mom said to me. And, I don't cringe like some do. I nod and smile because I know she had it right all those years ago. I really did think I was so much like my dad when I was young. Lesson here? I think I take after both of them... and I'm just fine with that.

Thank you mom and dad for being such a good example - raising a family, teaching us what to do with our time, what to do with our money and how to help others. I think it wore off... :)

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