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For the Love of a Child

June 13, 2008

I had what I considered to be a pretty unremarkable childhood and upbringing. I was an only child not because of infertility but because my parents decided that they could give the best life to one child as opposed to two or three. I didn’t quibble with this decision, even when I was young. Every so often, my father would ask if I wanted a brother or sister. One memorable answer put an end to the questions: “What? And have to share?!”

I was given lots of opportunities for self-discovery – ballet, horseback riding, art lessons, swimming lessons at the Y – pretty much anything I was interested in, I was allowed to pursue with vigour and support. My father was raised in a much different household and had to defend these expenditures to my grandmother who said that I needed some type of job – chores, whatever. To which my father replied, “Her job is learning.” Lucky for him, I love to learn.

They listened at dinner when I regaled them with tales of my days in middle school science learning about Trouble in the Alimentary Canal. I just assumed that this was what all parents did with their children. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that not many people want to hear about trouble in the alimentary canal as they are eating dinner. But, they never complained.

In high school, they cheered me on as I ran track – however improbable it was to go from flute recitals to track meets. My mother weeped when I was named salutatorian of my graduating class in a suspense-filled graduation ceremony since four of us were so close in grades, they couldn’t tell until the very end. I had no limits on the number of colleges I could apply to or where I could go. They had made me a promise that I could go to school wherever I wanted – I had no idea then what an incredible gift this was. I certainly know now.

Even when we started to try to have a child, it did not dawn on me what a sustained effort my parents made to raise me to be a successful, productive member of society. I was reminded, though, when I was watching Spellbound this evening. I saw my parents over and over again in the parents who invested so much energy and hope in their children – not in the creepy-my-child-is-destined-for-Hollywood-way – but in the I-am-so-proud-of-my-child-that-it-makes-me-cry way. I’ve seen them give me that look and I didn’t realize what a gift it was back then.

Their support didn’t stop once I left home – it was just given over the phone and through email. They are looking to move here to be near myself and Mr. X. Hopefully, there will be a new generation for them to be proud of because my days of flute recitals are long, long gone.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lori permalink
    June 13, 2008 3:23 am

    Girlfriend, you and I need to do a flute duet (albeit a way-out-of-practice one).

    For our loving parents.

    Here’s to generations…holding that thought for you.

  2. loribeth permalink
    June 13, 2008 12:38 pm

    What a great tribute to your parents!

  3. JellyBelly permalink
    June 13, 2008 9:09 pm

    you’re so lucky to have parents that have been so supportive! i really hope to fill the void that having crazy parents in my life with my own kiddies. i promise i will be less crazy AND i won’t complain if i have to shuttle them from track to flute lesson!

  4. Emily (Apron Strings) permalink
    June 14, 2008 1:25 pm

    Your parents sound awesome!

  5. MeHereNow permalink
    June 14, 2008 7:03 pm

    WOW! What an amazing piece of writing. I hope your parents are able to read that for themselves -I’m pretty sure the “tears of pride” would once more fill their eyes.

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