Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Parents

*I am posting this a bit before midnight Thursday since I will be in DC on Friday at the Women of Faith conference.

My parents have been married for 41 years. They were engaged 3 months after their frst date and married five months after they met. My mom proposed to my dad. She asked him what he was doing on February 15 and when he said he wasn't busy, she said, "Let's get married". No one thought it would last. Most of my dad's friends that gave them 6 months were divorced before my parents celebrated their 5th anniversary.

My mom has an older brother, making her the youngest and the only girl in her family. She was unashamedly a Daddy's girl. She was tomboy as much as she was princess. She was fiercely independent, a career minded young woman who fell in love with a boy unlike anyone she had ever met or dated.

She grew up in a home that boasted themselves as Methodist without ever being on a church membership roll. My mom went from church to church and got saved as a young girl at a Baptist church in the city were she lived until she was 10. Her parents moved to Ferndale in 1957. She attended local public schools and was involved in sports and held the office of Senior class president. She was engaged at age 19 with a young man that was the son of a family friend.

One weekend while they traveled to Ocean City in his convertible they were hit by a drunk driver. My mom was thrown from the car, suffering injuries including swelling of the brain that left her in a coma for 7 days. She had to learn to walk, talk, eat and do everything again. Her fiance` borrowed her car while she was recovering in the hospital to date another girl. They broke off their engagement shortly after she came home from the hospital.

She met my dad when she was 21. He wasn't the type of guy she typically dated and they enjoyed light hearted bowling dates, where she dressed as a clown, and he gave her gifts like watches and chattering teeth.

My dad is the middle son, sandwiched between two sisters. He was indeed a Momma's boy, but enjoyed sports, smoking and fast cars. He tolerated school, leaving kindergarten one day and walked home, exclaiming that there was too much coloring in class, that he wasn't learning anything. He sang and played guitar in a local band and danced on a local dance show on TV. He was kicked off after being caught kissing a girl backstage.

He was also an altar boy being raised in a family of staunch Catholics. He was baptized, made his first holy communion, attended confession and was confirmed. When he became engaged to my mom he made it known that she would have to convert to be able to be married in the Catholic church. In a few short weeks, she was baptized, made her first holy communion and was confirmed. They got married on February 15, 1969 during a high noon mass.

My dad never liked being Catholic, the daily alter boy duties, the confessional, the services in Latin. So when he attended a non-denominational service during an Amway rally in DC in 1985 he gladly received Jesus as his Savior.

We began attending a Baptist church in 1986 and my parents are still members there today. My mom has taught Sunday school for over 20 years with my dad serving as usher, trustee and on the college board. He still meets with a friend on Wednesday mornings for prayer and they attend three services a week on a pretty regular basis.

My dad is a passionate man who loves and hates deeply. He has a temper that he has tamed since getting saved, but in the past had him breaking furniture, mirrors and raising his voice to get his point across. At 19 he started to work for his father at the family business and inherited it when his father died. It went bankrupt a few years later and my father suffered a mild depression. He always had at least one job, sometimes two, but never stayed long enough to establish a retirement fund. He started a new business with a friend and former colleague in 2005, but again claimed bankruptcy when the business went under in 2007.

He currently works for DSS.

He recently had a five way bypass after a 100% blockage was found. He only suffered a mild heart attack and was forced to quit smoking. He has been smoke free for seven months.

My mom is loyal to a fault and loves to make sure everything is fair. She fights for the underdog and loves children and animals the same. She loves to read and do crossword puzzles. She can sew and used to make all of our costumes for dance and halloween. She is a gracious host and a 1950's wife, pampering my dad to a fault. She is a packrat and finds it hard to part with anything.

My mom stayed home with my sisters and me and operated an in home daycare. When my youngest sister started 1st grade she started working outside the home and held several retail jobs before landing a teller position at a bank. She retired from the bank in 2007 after 25 years of faithful employment.

She currently works parttime for the Department of Aging for AA County.

My parents have three daughters who were dubbed "Charlie's Angels", my dad declaring often that he never wanted sons, that he only wanted three girls. Those three girls have given them 13 grandchildren and one great grandson.         

They have lived in the same house for 37 years.

My mom has been one of my best friends and my dad was my hero. As I have gotten older, I have realized their frailty and daily see some of the successes and failures that they had in their lives in my own.

I know I embody many of their traits, both good and bad and am thankful for the way I was raised, the values they imparted to me and the legacy they are leaving.

Not many people I know can say that their parents have been married for 41 years. Not many people still have both their parents alive.

I am blessed.             

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