I have said again and again that I believe those who live this life are meant for this life. Something, or rather, many somethings in our past shape us for this. Something brought us here, prepared us for this, built our character, our armor to carry us through. Everyday I learn more and more how much of what prepared me for this came from my parents.
I know how much of me comes from my Mom. So much of my personality comes from her, my out-going side is hers, my smile, my some-what frightening love for football. Much of me mirrors her. Without question I learned to serve from my mom. Her kindest heart has taught me to give what I can, when I can, how I can, as much and as often as I can. To find what it is that I can give the most, what I can give joyfully, and to do so over and over and over again. My mother's loving hands helped me to find the joy in living a service-filled-life. Help me, daily, to take what I have in any situation and build it into something greater for the good of others. To use my talents to empower, not just enable. To give it to God. I learned from watching her, from knowing her. She is always supportive, always hopeful, always ready to come to the aid of her children and for any one else. She taught me how to pray, how to hope, how to love. So much of me is my mother.
In these last several months I have learned how much my Dad prepared me for this. There are many things that I never understood about him as a child, things I rolled my eyes at, things I responded to under my breath. There are moments now where I know how much he shaped who I am, who I hope to become, the example I hope to set. I just didn't quite understand it until now.
My dad left for work when it was still dark every morning for as long as I can remember. Every evening when he came home our family of seven ate dinner together. Every evening he would play games with us, shoot hoops, throw the baseball, help with homework, prepare us for tests, tell us we were smart, that we were beautiful, that we were good kids. Every single night he was present, involved. He was at every sporting event that he could possible attend, he coached in a way that was always encouraging, always the way children should be coached. He learned the rules of soccer because my little brother and I both loved to play. He came to my softball games and watched me do cart-wheels in the outfield. He let me quit when I said how much I hated it. He taught me how to drive (something my mom probably should have taught me). He taught me how to check my tire-pressure, check the oil, add oil. He took the time to show us, not just tell us. He was always there for his children. I cannot remember a time when my dad said he was too tired, or too sore, or too stressed. Never once do I remember that.
It is not until now that I see C come home after a twelve or thirteen or fourteen-hour day, and see him pick up the boys running to him, and hanging them upside down, and talking to Logan about school, and playing dinosaurs with Eli, and chasing them both around the house, and playing pirates with them at bath time, and reading them stories, and singing them to sleep, and praying the same bed time prayers, and telling them that they are smart, that they are good, that they are wonderful that I understand how very much my dad molded me for this life.
Because I know how tired C is when he comes home. I know how sore he is, how stressed. I know the worries and uncertainties running through his mind. I know the fear of the unknown. I know how much he is carrying every night when he walks in that door - but these boys ... these precious, innocent boys they do not know.
I never knew how much my dad carried, how tired he must have been. I never, never knew.
My dad showed me the man I deserved, that my future children deserved. He showed me how a man should love his family. I have never questioned how much my dad loves my mother, how much she loves him. I have always been shown how a partnership works, how to love through every trial, every struggle, every unknown. How to love completely, unconditionally, how to thrive together.
My dad is an incredible man loved and supported by a remarkable woman.
They brought me here. They prepared me for this beautiful life. They built my armor.
I couldn't be more grateful.
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