This week, I went home to spend a week with my family in North Carolina. Every time I’ve gone home since being on my own it has been for a holiday, helping Julia prepare to compete or for a work event. This time, there was no reason other than to spend time with them and go to the beach as much as possible. Although there are beaches near me in LA, the water is always too cold to get in. In Wilmington, the ocean is like bathwater and I love to swim in it.
I’ve definitely seen and recognized more and more about my parents and family as I’ve gotten older. My eyes continue to be open to the sacrifice my parents made for me and my siblings while growing up and still do in ways. My eyes are open to their incredible characteristics, their strength, their love and their pain.
Thinking about them as I traveled back to Los Angeles today had me in the airport like:
As children, we think parents are invincible and immortal, or at least I did. We really don’t realize the pain and hurt we inflict on them when we run from them, rebel against their moral teachings, hurt ourselves, spew disrespect at them, don’t come home to see them, don’t honor them, don’t thank them profusely and make fun of them.
But our parents aren’t invincible or made of steel. They have feelings and hearts too. I remember hurting my mom’s feelings when I was a teenager. I wish I could take back every idle word that hurt her or my daddy’s heart. I wish I could have been mature enough to have compassion on them rather than dwelling on a disappointment.
I’ve always adored my parents, but spending time with them this week softened my heart in a new way towards them. They are so good, so hard working, so strong yet tender, so generous and persistent. My mama is so talented, beautiful, full of life and energy. I see all the things she could have done or been, but gave up those things to make sure me and my siblings had all the opportunities she didn’t. My daddy too. I’ve watched him start a whole new career from scratch just so he could help keep us all afloat.
That insight alone makes me want to make them proud and to show them their sacrifices were worth it.
It is such a shame for our parents to give up so much of their lives for us to thrive and then never to know every single beautiful thing we see in them.
They deserve SO much that we will never possibly be able to repay them.
It’s easy to take parents for granted and have an attitude of expectation towards them. But truly, they are the ones we should cherish, dote on, adore, honor and acknowledge the most aside from our spouses and children.
It’s sad when people die without ever hearing what they meant to the ones who loved them.
Why don’t we start living like our parents are mortal? Like they have feelings, like they have regrets and hurt and like they had/ have dreams too?
Mama, you are a supernatural woman. I know you think you never do enough, but I think you do more and and beyond than I have the energy for. You are always going non-stop, even when you are supposed to be relaxing. Whether you are flying around the world, cleaning out the refrigerator, sewing daddy’s tye back together or flying to LA to help me host a birthday party, you do more than anyone I know. Your heart is so big and I know you do it all to lead by example. I’m 29 and I STILL have so much to learn from you. I pray my children will get to spend a lot of time with you so they can glean from you what I can’t give them. There is truly nothing you can’t do.
Daddy, you have the kindest heart. You have always stepped up to the plate when we needed you whether it required rolling our hair for dance recitals or modeling auditions when mama was on a trip or driving in the pouring rain at night to pick me up at college for a last minute appearance two hours away. You make the world’s best popcorn and you treat everyone so special. People trust you and feel comfortable with you because you are a man of pure integrity. Most of all, I appreciate your attentiveness and sweetness to mama. Thank you for caring for her and letting me see that because it melts my heart.
I just think the WORLD of the two of you and my children will hear about it constantly one day. I know they will love you both so much and beg to see you and be with you. Don’t worry, I won’t let them call you grandma/pa. We’ll come up with something more fitting hehe.
We’ll never fully know the lengths our parents went to to give us the best they could. My mama always said, “Just wait until you have children one day, then you’ll understand.”
But, I don’t think it should take us having our own children or losing a parent. Let’s not wait until it’s too late to start seeing, noticing and being in awe of who our parents are and what they have done and continue to do for us.
My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9.