Saturday, May 8, 2010

Honoring our Parents

The other day I was in the children’s section of a bookstore and I noticed a book titled Mom and Me and another book titled Dad and Me. The books were filled with basic lists of questions for children to ask their parents and for parents to ask their kids. Here are some of the questions: What it is your favorite color? Do you prefer vanilla or chocolate? What is your favorite song? Pizza or pasta? It occurred to me I do not know if my dad prefers pizza or pasta.

While reading the book, a part of me was intrigued by the simple concept. The book caught my attention because I have noticed lately that I want to learn as much as possible about my parents. I want to know about their favorite childhood memories, vacation spots, etc. I think this is because I know there will be a time when they will no longer be with me. I would like to know their stories and life facts as a way to remember them and honor their life and for the next generation of family members to know about them.

Reading this book was also a reminder about the importance of being mindful and enjoying the present moments with my parents. This will help make the future feel less scary and frantic with trying to cram all that I can say and do with my parents. There is a part of me that becomes very sad thinking about my parents not being here. A reason why the book resonated with me is because even though I have known my parents for 32 years, there are still new things to discover about them. When I spend time with them, I look forward to the chance to learn more about their stories and about their lives. I believe this is one of the beautiful things about human relationships, that there is always more to learn about people no matter how well you think you know them.

I do not understand exactly what it is like to be responsible for another human being. In my eyes, being a parent is one of the most self-sacrificing acts a person can do in his/her life. This is especially the case because parent-child relationships go through many transitions. I have noticed that my relationship with my parents has come full circle. I remember being little and if I fell down, a hug or kiss from mom or dad made everything feel better. I recall being an adolescent and distancing myself from my parents because they did not “get” me. I also recall how devastated I was the first time I discovered my perceived all-knowing parents could not help me with my algebra homework. I also remember in college when a relationship went awry, I called my mom instead of a friend. I realized she has so much more wisdom on relationships from being married for forty years than any of my friends.

For parents to continue providing unconditional love to their children throughout these life changes is a special gift. As I become older, I have gained more perspective on the cycles of my relationship with my parents. As I have seen with friends and family members, having one supportive parent can have positive long- term effects on someone’s life. I realize how fortunate I am to have two living parents that love me unconditionally.

Parents can make us feel like the most important people in the world. Parents can believe in us when others do not. They may love us despite our flaws. Parents can help ground us when life changes are happening. When times are tough, they can encourage us to be brave. Parents can teach us life lessons. I am not into Hallmark holidays, but many parents deserve to be celebrated more than once a year, not just on Mother’s or Father’s Day. Happy Parent’s Day, each and every day!

Kristy Hatch

Kristy is an intern at TAC. She leads the Saturday Anad Support Group.