Today, and every November 18, I am given a tremendous gift. I am reminded that love lasts, that marriage takes work, and that vows mean something. Today, my parents celebrate another anniversary. And, now, before time runs out, I want everyone to know just how amazing they are.
My parents give of themselves – to so many people. When we were young, they took in a teenage girl who was pregnant. My parents protected this girl when her own parents wouldn’t. They showed her love. They adopted many people when love and support was what was needed.
My parents led the youth group at church when we were really young. My sisters and I thought we were so cool because we got to do things with the teenagers. We always had someone over for lunch after church on Sundays. The best lunch was when one of our guests (a minister), sitting at the opposite end of the table as my mom, asked her to pass him a roll – and she did. Literally, she tossed a roll all the way across the table. Sunday family lunches may sound corny because everyone today is crazy busy, but it was so very special.
My parents have always had a heart for the homeless, leading a ministry team that provided food, shelter, clean clothes, and holidays. To this day, they continue to provide Christmas to a group of homeless men. They have taught me to love people that might not otherwise have it.
My parents showed me grace in unimaginable ways; and isn’t that was grace is supposed to be? A gift that you wouldn’t even think to ask, but the giver knew just what you needed. That was, and is, my parents.
Growing up, our family might have reminded you of the Cleavers. Daddy worked, and Mom stayed home with us. She was always home when we got home from school. They made a lot of sacrifices to make that happen – things that I wouldn’t even begin to realize until I started my own family.
I remember Daddy dancing with us (me and my two sisters) in the living room, and helping us surprise Mom when she turned 30. I remember staring out the living room window waiting for him to get home after it snowed (all 3 inches of it). I remember how special I felt when he let me go with him to the Vanderbilt basketball games. (He took up tickets.)
My mom was so much fun that all of my friends wanted to hang out at my house. My mom believed in me. She taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. She challenged me and still gave me room to be myself. My mom always listened, was honest, and is to this day my very dear friend.
Grace, surrender, patience, love, forgiveness, honor – just a few of the blessings my parents have demonstrated and taught. Actually, they still do.
Some things have happened over the last couple of years that have made me realize that life is short. That I won’t always have time to tell them just how special they are to me. So, this year, today, I wanted to pause and shout to the world what a blessing I have in my parents. Perfect? No. Exactly what I needed? Absolutely!
Mom and Dad, I love you more than you will ever know.