Sunday, July 18, 2010

Parents are Like Angels

I'm sitting here in the family room with my beautiful wife on the couch in our wonderful home in which we've lived for almost exactly one week. This has been the culmination of 6 months of almost non-stop work for Maureen and me and a fleet of support staff, and this is my opportunity to call out a couple of members of the support staff without whom, literally, our home would not be anywhere near where it is today - my parents Karen and Bob.

Since February, they have contributed probably hundreds and hundreds of hours only for the good of their son and daughter-in-law. Why? I really have no idea. They must love us, but any reasonable person would have exhausted the supply of love energy months ago, particularly because I'm kind of a jerk. My parents aren't people who don't have enough to do. They both work demanding full time jobs, with additional familial obligations, pets, and numerous other requirements of their time. They've painted, sanded, patched, repaired, built, tore down, wired, and plumbed every surface in the entire house alongside Maureen and me. It is impossible to overstate their contributions - just as a frame of reference, when this remodeling par-tay got rocking months ago, my home improvement skills were entirely limited to explaining to people how little capability I actually had. On top of this, they brought pizza, sub sandwiches, and bagels for our working sessions, purchased us tools that we did not have, and provided recommendations when we requested them. After work until 9 or 10 pm, on the weekends from sunup to sundown, my mom would be patching a hole in the ceiling or my dad would be beautifying the insides of our closets in new white paint. It's not quite possible to express my complete gratitude for these contributions, but that is too limited a view of things.

For example, why were Maureen and I able to afford a house? We've certainly worked for a living whenever possible so we could eventually buy a house, but a big part of the reason is that our parents have supported us through college, provided us with vehicular transportation and gas money in our early years, and I lived rent free at home with my folks for about 4 years after college. We're not a wealthy family, but they regularly did without so that their children did not have to experience being without. A parent has an obligation to provide reasonable support to their children when possible, but the support they've provided is on a level bordering kind of nuts.

I can go on and on in this vein, but maybe the best way to wrap up this thought is this pontification on life. Now that I'm some sort of adult, married, and have a child on the way, thoughts about the meaning of life have started to make their way into my mind. Fortunately for me and you, I've already figured out the meaning and it's not all that original - family and friends. I'm not exactly sure what about family and friends is the meaning of life, but it has something to do with spending happy times with them, sad times with them, and then figuring out how to make these people feel better about their existence. We're here to provide meaning for others, and that is kind of cool. By this measure, I hope my parents know that they've succeeded in life, and they've set off a chain of family togetherness that will likely carry forth in perpetuity. It must feel kind of nice to still be relatively young and have all your children feel that you're a success in life.

The only thing I don't like about this feelgoodness is that as a near future parent and selfish individual, I fear that I will not be able to live up to the standard of selflessness as practiced by my parents. Hopefully this is a skill that quickly develops prior to and shortly after the birth of a child, otherwise I'm in trouble. I'll always be kind of a jerk, but hopefully this characteristic and good parenting aren't mutually exclusive. It's a tough standard to live up to, but perhaps the best challenge worth facing in all of life.

1 comment:

BobA said...

I would comment here, but I am just too modest