Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We all hear the crap stories all the time.  Does anyone have a set of parents they are happy and honored to call Mom and Dad?  Let me tell you a little about mine.  Out of respect for their privacy, I will not be naming them, nor will I be giving any big details about them, in this post, at least.

My parents were fair, and they weren't strict.  They didn't have to be strict, because they taught me values and manners from the time I could comprehend these things.  Please and thank you when I could talk.  Hold out my hand and say, "Pleased to meet you," when I could walk.  Share my toys with others.  Go outside and play.

Hell, they even taught me the difference between look-days and buy-days while shopping.  All Mom had to say was, "Little Irreverent, today is just a look day," and I'd be happy as a clam, looking at everything.  On buy-days, I knew I could choose one toy.  If Mom vetoed it, there was no fuss.  I was a toddler when they taught me this.

I could read at two.  Why?  Because my mother would sit beside me with a magnetic letter board and tell me what each letter looked and sounded like.  She made real words and nonsense words, just so I could see how these funny things worked, looked, and sounded, both alone and together.

As I grew up, it was, "Let me know where you'll be."  I always asked, "Can I go to Friend's house?"  As I got even older, I called when I'd be late.  I called occasionally to check in and let them know I was okay.  I asked permission.  I asked permission.  I asked permission.  Yes, I typed that three times.  I want to emphasize that I never thought I was entitled to go anywhere or do anything.  My parents were in charge, and that was that.  I did not question it.

I was to call all adults by Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss, followed by their last names.  I still do that to this day, and I am well into my adult years, although I only do this with elders and parents of friends.  As I grew older, I was allowed to call people Mr. John or Miss Jane, if they requested it.  If there was no request for reduced formality, I addressed them formally.  Sir and ma'am are in the same category.

Of course, I had those teenage moments, when all I wanted to do was spread my wings.  However, I loved and respected my parents enough to not spread my wings so far as to wreck our home and relationship.  My parents also respected me.  They allowed me to go to concerts, travel with my high school choir, go to the occasional party.  They knew they had done their job well, and they trusted me to make the right decisions.  If I made the wrong decisions, they trusted me enough to not make the really wrong decisions.

Mom was also my silent partner-in-crime.  If someone would ask me to go to a party, and I knew there would be alcohol or drugs, or if I was just uncomfortable with the others who were invited, I'd call her and ask to go to said party.  "Am I supposed to say yes or no?" Mom would ask.  I would reply with whichever answer I wanted, because she trusted me to not go to the insane parties.  Likewise, if I found myself at such an insane party, she would pick me up, no questions asked.  All I had to do was call.  During those high school days, Mom never had to pick up a drunk, high, or sexually mistreated child.  I knew how to get out before it got bad, thanks to Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad both taught me to drive.  Mom was more patient, and Dad was more technical.  It was a good mix.  I learned equally from both of them.  I got my lead foot from Mom and my love of technique from Dad.  Inserting a smiley face irks my writing soul, but I am grinning from ear to ear about that last sentence.

Guess what kind of car I received?  A sensible (but rather quick) used car.  It was nicer than many at my school, but more modest than many as well.  My parents had two things in mind with that car - safety and reliability.  This pre-owned car fit the bill.  That is why I didn't have a piece of crap, but I also didn't have the newest Audi, as one girl did.

I am speaking quite a bit about my mother.  I was blessed to have parents who could afford to have Mom not work outside the home.  We were by no means wealthy.  My parents made sacrifices so they could raise me the way they felt was best.  I am grateful for this, because I have such a close relationship with my beautiful, loving, lovely Mommy.

What did Dad do for me?  He did the best things any Daddy could do for his daughter.  He loved me.  If I had questions, he answered them, even the embarrassing ones.  He never foisted me off on my mother.  They were a team.

Dad and I built and flew kites.  Dad helped me with my math and science homework.  He taught me ways to do math that made sense.  We built snowmen together and went sledding together.  Dad left work to take me to the hospital when I couldn't breathe at school.  This was before cell-phones, and Mom couldn't be reached.  He wasn't upset at all.  My health and safety was his job too.

Dad and I went to the Father-Daughter Dinner when I was in Brownies.  He sewed costumes for me, and he even made my choir dress when I was in eighth grade.  He painted my toenails for senior prom.  For junior prom, he went out and found shoes - forest green velvet - to match my forest green velvet dress.  I need to repeat this - Dad went shoe shopping for me, because I wanted shoes that matched my dress perfectly.  I didn't throw a fit about it or anything.  I would have been happy with dye-to-match.  Dad wanted the shoes for me as badly as I did.

Dad taught me the way I should be respected by any significant others by respecting and loving my mother.  He taught me to value myself by valuing me.  He is simply the best Daddy on the planet.

I could go on and on about my parents.  I still have the childish desire to smack anyone who speaks ill of them.  Then again, no one speaks ill of them, so I don't have to worry about that.  My parents were, and still are, along with my husband, the most precious people on Earth to me.

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