The first people I ever loved were my parents. Chances are they are the first people you ever loved too. I was blessed that my parents were and are people who are worthy of love, respect, and gratitude. Maybe yours were too. Maybe they weren’t.
As I’ve gotten older my relationship with my parents has changed a lot and in very unexpected ways. My mom was 25 when she had me. I’m 28 now and don’t see kids anywhere near in my future. So as I look back I see my parents through the lens of what I know it was like in my own head at 25. How on earth did they make room for a tiny person in the midst of all the head-noise that is your 20’s? They bought a house, had jobs, managed all those things that I still feel like are overwhelming and all-consuming and they loved me too. Honestly my memory of being a kid is pretty sketchy. But I remember the weird and the random. I remember a day (I think it was a Sunday after church) that my parents took my sister and me for a surprise trip to the rollerskating rink. I remember going fishing with my dad. I remember pieces of conversations with my mom where she basically explained life to 5 year old me. I remember the way she smelled and what it felt like to sit on her lap with my head on her chest. I remember it so exactly that even now when I need to be comforted it’s that specific feeling that I’m longing for- the feel of being in my mom’s arms.
One of my absolute favorite memories is of a camping trip with my dad and Pawpaw. I don’t remember when it was or how old I was but I remember the feeling of catching a fish! I remember being so happy I literally sang about it, which made my Pawpaw laugh and shake his head indulgently. Apparently that night it rained and poured and Dad was afraid the tent was going to fall down on us, but I don’t remember that. I never woke up. I didn’t need to worry about the storm because Dad was holding the tent up over me.
My parents love for me has always been the thing that holds the storms back and the thing that has protected me. Their love protected, guided, and encouraged me. It wasn’t a love of always yes or do whatever you want. It was a love of we want what’s best for you and always do your best. Their love for me and for others taught me how to love.
My parents love for me and my love for them has shaped me. My Mom and Dad are, and always will be, my first love.
My love and appreciation for them has changed as I’ve grown to understand more of the sacrifice they have made of their lives in order to raise and love kids. And even now that my sister and I are grown my parents continue to sacrifice time, energy, and emotion to our well-being. You never stop being a parent. What a gift they give us!
Now when I’m with teenagers, especially teenage girls, I find myself wanting to shake them. Don’t take your mom for granted! She has things to teach you! Listen to your dad! He knows stuff you need to know!
My whole life has been filled with love because of the two people who gave me life. In those silly and wasteful moments where I think that I’ll never find love I have to stop myself and laugh at my foolishness. I’ve never had to look for it! Since the moment my heart started beating I’ve been loved. My whole life has been formed and guided by the love of Mom and Dad.
My parents fill my life with love and I love them.