Dear Mom & Dad,
I’ve been thinking about this post for months, and I’m not even sure what to write. Should I just hop right in?
1. Thank You That This Is Not (Was Not) My Life
I have never known what it feels like to have my parents not support me. In fact, “supportive” might be the best word to describe you guys. I grew up watching you support each one of your children. Brother needed to get over his shyness so he could find music – Dad, you pushed him. He found music, he found he could lead and direct music. And that changed his life. Brother brought home girlfriends. I was too little to know what that phase of your relationship was like, but I’m sure it was tricky. Still, I don’t remember shouting matches about girls. When he was old enough to responsibly date, you allowed him that freedom and didn’t smother him. When he had his first car accident, you dealt with it and let him use the other car.
And then, Lord, there was us. We girls. You encouraged Sister in all her all her many (many) developing talents. Sewing machine. Camera. Endless supplies. More than that, though, a push to really figure out what she wanted…so you could help give it to her.
And me. Looking back, did I drive you crazy? Maybe you rue the day I discovered live theatre. Maybe not. But I had to have it. Schedule-eating, energy draining, live theatre. In the last years of high school I had to come up with brilliant arguments for participating in each new play or musical. And you conceded those arguments, because you saw my heart was there.
(and yes, I still think I needed Peter Pan)
And then there was the Guild. More theatre, more responsibility, more time taken away, more of me dedicated to this Hungry Animal. “I can direct this play,” I said. Dad, you made me prove it. You made me argue it, show it, give you my plans and back-up plans and boundaries. And then, when it was all done, you said, “Well then, I will help you in any way I can.” And you did. You went to Lowe’s with me, you bought supplies, you helped us build a fire escape. (Such a pretty fire escape) I can’t imagine what you thought I was doing….but I did it. Because you helped. Soon I sprung out and feathered a new nest of builders and supporters, with the Guild, but your initial help was never forgotten or taken for granted.
When high school drew to a close, you know I just wanted to bury my nose in The Boards and forget school. But you knew I needed it, and you told me so. It’s funny, while there was maybe a handful of the “must I attend college?” discussions, I never doubted what my major would be. (English, mais bien sûr).
(on that note, thanks for toeing me into The Community College and letting me live & eat at home while I worked at the restaurant. And springing to buy my books every so often – super appreciated)
When the time came to transfer to The University, I briefly flirted with my inner desire to declare Theatre Major, but I’m too realistic for that. I realise that may have had you panicked for a bit.
Dad, thanks for taking me places and letting me not like them. Thanks for getting my list of important things from me, and making that a priority. Thanks for not making a requirement for me to attend This or That University or-else-you-won’t-support-me. That mindset in parents still boggles the mind. Thanks for partnering with me on my choice of school. It’s cost both of us a lot of money, I know. But I’m glad I went in to debt over it, and not you. I’ve got the rest of my life to pay it back (although you and I both know I’m looking at a much shorter timeline). Thanks for letting me be an adult there and have to figure out all the application, money stuff, paperwork, loans, housing…everything. I think it prepared me for life.
You prepared me for life.
Mom, thanks for taking every possible moment to gently teach. Everything can be a life lesson. I know that because of you. I found myself emulating you a lot off at school, if someone got sick or hurt. Because mothers know, you know? They know how to deal with things. I hope I can be a shred of the woman you are, whether or not I’m ever a mother.
I am aware that Sister and I freaked you out, and that it’s possible you were even questioning that we had normal, healthy sexuality at points. I know it’s weird for daughters not to date in high school. You dealt gracefully with Sister’s forays into dating, once she got there, and gave her pretty reasonable boundaries I thought.
I’m sorry my first love flourished away from home. I know that was hard. I know it got harder once you realised how Different he was from maybe what you were expecting. How different he is from Dad in many ways…and how his similarities seem unnerving in so young a person. I know it got harder when we got engaged. But you know…you let me be my own person and live my own life. It BLOWS MY MIND when I see teenage, young adult, and straight-up-adult children whose parents try to dictate every aspect of their romantic life.
(I mean, you know this. I’ve ranted to you enough about it)
Thank you for being my friends, my support, my leaders, my encouragers.
I know I’ve gotten more jaded. I know I’ve changed my mind about things that disappoint you. But I’m just trying to become a real person, and I think you know that. I’ve gone to college, fallen in love, gotten seared and scarred by multiple bad room-mate situations, and had to provide way more leadership than I should have been expected to. It changes a person…or rather, keeps them from getting stagnant.
I’m MORE than I was four years ago. I don’t think anything’s really truly much different. I’ve always noticed my opinions, called a spade a spade, and desired to protect those I love with all my energies. That’s all still there. I’m just also a snarky editor now, who cares a lot about Christians knowing how to read the Bible correctly and stuff like that.
This post was WAY train of thought / rambly.
But anyway… thanks.