Today, I am thankful for my parents.
When I tell you that I won the parents lottery, I am not exaggerating.
My parents have been married (to each other) for thirty-eight years. Of all of the examples they have provided me, a long,
seemingly? happy, supportive, stable marriage is one of the most important and valuable to me. While I'm quite certain that it hasn't been an easy thirty-eight years, they always have fun together, they always laugh together, and I have nearly no memories of them ever fighting. I'm sure they must have, but I literally have no recollection of them ever yelling at each other and having an argument. I've seen them have "discussions" about things, but no fights. The lesson I learned there? Talk about things when they happen and work it out. Chris and I try our hardest to do that, and it's worked for us for nine years. I can only hope that Chris and I have as long and as stable a marriage as my parents have. They have set an amazing example for us of sticking together when things are tough (and trust me, there were some times that I'm sure were tough) and enjoying each other. They were literally children when they met each other, and have been together since. I promise you, there is nobody I knew when I was sixteen that I would want to be married to now.
And seriously? How cute are they? And really, they are this cute in real life.
They are amazing grandparents. Pirate party and we have to wear costumes? SURE! What? You want me to climb a tree with you? No problem! Oh, you want to disect the dead mouse in my garage? Let's do it! And that is just a tiny, tiny example of the things they do with my children. They have sleepovers and special days. They take them to the movies and let them chase chickens around their back yard. They moved roughly 1,500 miles - from the only town in which they had ever lived - to Tennessee to be with my family so they could be a big part of the lives of our children.
They are incredibly supportive of my family and the activities of our children.
They come to baseball games and the book fair. They have eaten lunch at school with the boys. They come to the play and the school showcase night. They go to Kindergarten graduation and to Cub Scout pinewood derby races. They get up at 6:00 in the morning on a Saturday to watch my kids run a mile. They watched our children for days on end when we were in Russia. They are amazing grandparents. Our children are hugely fortunate to have such a close relationship with them, and I cannot imagine how different that would look if my parents still lived in Massachusetts.
They have always been parents who taught by example, rather than by telling us what to do. They were big on "go to your room and think about this" versus yelling and punishing. They taught my sister and me to make our own decisions and to be responsible for those decisions, good or bad.
They also taught us that working hard is very important, but it's also important to have fun. And they really are fun! Honestly, they're probably much more fun than me.
They have taught me that family is important. That you can disagree with someone and that's OK, but don't be disrespectful about it.
They taught me how to cook, how to sew, how to take care of my babies, that I need to pick my battles and pick them wisely, that it's better to be smart than not to be, and that book smart and common sense smart are equally as important. They've taught me that I am no better than anyone else, and that I certainly cannot judge a book by its cover. They've taught me that it's best to tell the truth the first time, and that if I say I'm going to do something I need to follow through. They've taught me that handmade gifts are the best kind, notes in your lunchbox are a sweet surprise, that it's OK to make a fool of myself, that you need to be able to laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously, and that there's no hug like the one that comes from your mama or daddy. Even at 35 years old.
I appreciate my parents so much more now than I am sure I did as a child. We never had a difficult relationship (did we?!) but certainly as a parent I have a different appreciation for them. They are great parents - hard working and supportive, loving and affectionate to me and each other, open and friendly, smart and courageous, and have fabulous senses of humor.
They love my children fiercely, and never hesitate to tell them, and the relationship they have developed with my littles is something that will stick with my children forever. I am so lucky to have the parents I have, and I hope every day that I will be as strong a parent to my children as they have been to me.