Today is my Mom and Dad’s 59th wedding anniversary.
When people comment about the sacrifice I’ve made to care for Lynn, I truly don’t understand why it seems so different. I practice now what I saw my parents demonstrate for each other and for us, over and over again. Before I was born, my mom quit her job to take care of her family. She has never gone back to work outside the home but her work inside the home keeps her busy more hours than most “day” jobs. When we were in school, she was always active in the PTA; she and Dad often were the classroom parents who brought in cupcakes and other goodies. They came to every play, every ball game, every presentation that any of us had. They were always there for us.
When one of them is sick the other one is right by their side helping to make them comfortable. If one grieves, so does the other. If one is happy, so is the other. They go everywhere together and not because they have to but because they want to. They truly are the ultimate example of togetherness and oneness. It was through their example that I learned commitment and self-sacrifice.
And it wasn’t just for us that they sacrificed their time. They always pitched in to help our other family members with their projects and needs. My parents have always done what they can for others. If someone in the neighborhood lost a family member, they always went to the wake and they always brought food to the house. If there’s a celebration, they again bring food and enjoy the event with others. My Mom records everything through pictures–then she creates these awesome photo albums that include names, dates, locations, and events –each picture has its own story. She’s become the community historian. She shares those memories with others at all types of community events and enjoys the pleasure her albums bring others.
My Dad can build and repair anything. He spoiled me in my expectations for a husband. If he sees something that needs doing, he does it then and there. Be it a car, a piece of equipment, an electrical appliance, plumbing, siding, bricklaying, carpentry, whatever it is, my Dad can fix it like a pro. He loves to read in his spare time and I’m sure that’s where I got my love of reading as well. We often exchange books and talk about characters. When we were young, he worked shift work. He often took only a short nap before returning to work so he could stay up and be with the family, watch a ball game, or help coach the team for one of his sons. If there is a community event that needs a helping hand, he’s there.
At the age of 79, my Dad and Mom are key partners in the community’s firehouse and fund-raising. They help clean up the parks in the area. They cook for hundreds of people to raise money for the firehouse. They never stop.
When my Mom’s mom started having TIAs and strokes, she and her sisters took turns staying with her and caring for her. During her last days, I think they were there nearly full time. When my Dad’s mom needed a place to live after my Dad’s brother died, they took her in and made her at home.
My parents are caregivers at heart and they have passed that trait down to me. They seek to make others’ lives better and there is nothing they would not do for me and my family. I have been blessed to have them as my parents and to have their example as my guide.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.