Today, I’m writing about the gratitude I have for my parents. They’ve supported me, encouraged me, celebrated me, consoled me, and counselled me since day one – not to mention, they’re the only reason I have a “day one” to speak of. They’ve never once given up on me, and I couldn’t be more fortunate because of their commitment to my growth and development.
People have come up with all sorts of ways to explain/define what life is, but I the one that consistently resonates with me comes from Yasiin Bey (the mighty Mos Def): life is doing the best you can with what you’ve got in your hand, or, as Tolkien put it, all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. When we’re born, each one of us is flung into the middle of an eternal soap opera that we can’t possibly hope to comprehend from beginning to end. Our parents are the first ones there for to help teach us how to “do being” but, ironically, our arrival also casts them into a new stage of uncertainty, improvisation, and invention (parenthood).
No one’s parents are perfect – that would be impossible – but my parents have always been loving, loyal, patient, and forgiving, which I believe are the most important virtues any of us can embody. Everyone gets some things right and some things wrong because we’re all in the same boat. We’re all learning from people who are still learning (who in turn learned from people who were still learning). We’re all playing an ancient game of Telephone. We all have a body, a mind, and a heart at our disposal; we all have time, energy, and attention to invest; and we all have people, animals, and environments to care for; but we’re lost without the transmission of wisdom, truth, and comprehension of those who came before us. We’re bound to find ourselves in the midst of collisions and communication breakdowns, but that isn’t anyone’s fault. The blessings and curses we inherit from our parents were left to them by their parents, which were left to them by their parents, and so on. Without the patience, forgiveness, love, and loyalty of those around us, we have no foundation to build our lives upon.
As I’ve grown up and become more conscious of the lives of the people around me, I’ve never ceased to be more and more appreciative of my mother and my father. They’re the reason that I have a big, giving, and forgiving heart; they are the reason that I am cautious, patient, and introspective; they’re the reason that I’ve had the freedom to pursue my passions and creativity; they’re the reason I have the best sister in the world; and they’re the reason I worked at the summer camp where I met my soulmate. They’re genuinely two of my best friends because of who they are – because I love spending time with them – and not because they let me get away with shit, bought me anything I wanted, or were “cool” (although, they are pretty cool sometimes – that’s where I get it from). They’ve given me everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and I couldn’t be more blessed. I hope I do as good a job with my own children someday.
Categories: The Doing Being