My parents’ careers always made me sound really good to my peers! Each year I would get excited whenever I was asked to introduce myself in the classroom. Each year I would delight in watching the eyes of my peers pop out of their head when I would say, “Well, my father is a Delta pilot and my mother is an opera singer.” Cue cartoonish reaction.
“WHOA! THAT’S SO COOL!!” Every single person would say.
I’d smile slightly, enjoying their enthusiasm, and I was grateful that one of the several lines I had rehearsed came out well. If I had a dollar for every time I’d say, “My Dad is a Delta pilot and my Mom is an opera singer.” I’d have a hefty sum of cash right now and I’d get a few extra dollars from my peers, as if they were to say, “Wow! Well done for having parents with unique careers. You must be so proud.”
I always felt like my parents were celebrities whenever my peers would react the way they did. “Yeah, my parents are pretty cool”, I’d agree silently to myself. After sharing details about my parents’ careers and anecdotes about my siblings I didn’t have anything else to talk about. My family was the most interesting thing to me. I was somebody when I talked about my family.
I could talk about my hobbies, or what I liked to do, but I was always afraid people would lose interest. “I’m not as exciting as a Delta pilot, or an opera singer, or a sibling that is always ready to make someone laugh with a crazy accent or character”, I often thought to myself. So I was the reporter, the storyteller, the observer of the family. That was the role I felt safe playing for a long time, but I would later discover there are many different roles a person plays in life as they grow into themselves, as they grow into their life. I had a lot of growing to do, but my parents definitely helped to guide my growth.
My parents were more to me than the Delta pilot and the opera singer. They were my pillars. When I was at home I saw them as my pillars. Mom and Dad, the greatest superheroes alive, ready to tackle the day with joy, love, and persistence. Mom and Dad, the bookends of the family. My pillars.
When I was a kid, even when I was reaching high school, my parents were like giants in my eyes. I admired them, and adored everything they did to make my life feel like a charmed life.
My parents, like pillars that stand tall at the front of the White House, supported the foundation they gave me that Divine Life, Divine Love, Divine Mind, Divine Inspiration and Intuition is my Ultimate Parent, and guide. That was what home was built around.
I saw clearly the love and friendship my parents had for each other. I was grateful that home, for the most part, was always a happy place. There was the occasional fight with a sibling. There was the common “he said”, “she said” bickering rally, but home has always been my happy place, and it’s because of my pillars. Mom and Dad.
I owe a lot to the Delta pilot that worked tirelessly each week for 31 years, who was home on as many holidays as possible, took his kids out to dinner, watched countless romantic comedies with his daughters, kept up with after school activities, and attended as many concerts, birthdays parties, and sporting events as he could. And I owe a lot to the singer who taught voice lessons from home, got kids to little league practice, soccer games, choir concerts, playdates, school drop off, school pickup, bus pickup, cooked dinner every night, while helping kids with homework, piano practice, guitar practice, and got them ready for bedtime that allowed them to sleep at an hour that was as decent as humanly possible when you’re a mother of four, and have four different needs to attend to, all at the same time, while there’s a sink full of dishes in the kitchen begging to be attended to.
A round of applause would not be a decent representation of my gratitude, love, and respect. A standing ovation wouldn’t be enough either. If I did get a hefty sum of cash for saying “My Dad is a Delta pilot and my Mom is an opera singer” I’d give that cash to my parents, plus any amount of money I had scrapped together for myself. I’d give it all to them.
My world was always fast paced, but I’m grateful to have had a mother that kept the household spinning and a father that was right there ready to pick up whatever was dropped, forgotten, or that possibly could fall. I hope one day to pay them back for everything they gave me.
As I grew up and as I look back now a majority of the discord I felt at home was no one’s fault. It was me. It was me trying to bend, to bend over backwards, and contort myself to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be. This is not an uncommon feeling for people, but it’s something that engulfed me for a long time. I thought, for a long time, that I had to twist, and become someone else for my parents, for my siblings, for the rest of my family that barley even saw me on a regular basis. I eventually learned, and I’m still learning, that the one who really pushed me to be someone else was myself. I began to wake up from the overwhelming need to please others, and be someone else, when I saw my parents stripped of their superhero capes.
It might have made them feel weak, out of control, or anything else like that when they showed vulnerability. However, as a kid it was such a relief to learn that Mom and Dad are human too. I will always be most grateful to have learned at a young age that parents, though they are masters at looking put together, are not always at the top of their game. Thou shalt not be ashamed nor shalt thou feel discouraged, dear parents, for you have given me a gift. I see your vulnerability as a gift.
So this is retirement. You’re not sailing around the world. You’re not flying in an airplane or glider everyday. So you’re not in a concert hall gracing the world with your voice or touring with an opera company with sold out shows. Or performing in a Broadway production, or a local play. Or any other adventurous thing you’d love to do right now. You’re doing what’s needed, and what’s important. You’re listening to Divine Mind, Love, and Divine Intuition that says, “Right now, you must be here. Right now, I ask that you take care of this.”
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being responsible, principled people. We will continue to grow, as we navigate life. It might be frustrating, sad, and uncomfortable at times, but we will survive. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” My life has not been dull or without adventure and I owe that to you because you’ve allowed me to be myself. For that, and much more, I’ll always be grateful for you!