Advice from My Parents

 

I have always viewed my parents with the utmost respect and admiration. They have both been through their fair share of challenges, but have still found a way to make the most out of what life has given them. I can only hope to be half the person that I know each of them to be.

I admire my dad’s devotion and kind heart.

I used to be terrified of the dark (in recent years, my terror has lessened into only a slight anxiousness). I had trouble sleeping alone up until I was around ten years old, and the only way that I could was with the bathroom light shining directly into my room and my head hidden under the covers while I slept. My dad was a great source of comfort whenever I couldn’t sleep and something he used to tell me whenever I was scared was to think happy thoughts. Those three simple words are ones that I have carried into my adolescence and now ones that I will carry into adulthood.

Something that I greatly pride myself on is my ability to see the best out of any situation. When talking to other people, I always find myself voicing the silver lining or the positivity within any situation. Everyone has bad things that happen to them, but if you only focus on the bad, then that negativity will soon become your whole world. It will weigh you down so much that there won’t even be the chance to see the good. You’ll already be drowning without even realizing it. When I look at my dad and all that he has done for me and my family over the years, I truly believe that this is a motto that he lives by, whether he realizes it or not.

I hold those words very close to my heart, so much so that I even considered getting them tattooed somewhere on my body – and for anyone who knows me, that is a huge deal. It is super easy to get lost in the ocean of negativity that sometimes consumes our world. And I’m not saying that we should ignore the bad stuff, but that it is important to recognize the good. My dad taught me that.

And without sounding too cheesy, he showed me what an excellent example of what a father and good human being is meant to be. I refrain from saying husband because my parents got divorced (LOL), but I see his kindness and the way he has treated my sister and I throughout our lives and through that I know what kind of partner is truly worthy of me. I so very much admire my father’s devotion to his children and how accepting his heart is. I know that whatever path I choose for myself, or whoever I become, he will always accept me for me no matter what.

I admire my mom’s courage and sacrifice.

It is so hard to do my mother justice. I don’t know where to begin really, but I guess I should say that she used to be the “enemy”. My sister and I always joke that when we were kids we were scared of our mom. She doesn’t particularly like that we say this, but honestly, it’s true. And I wouldn’t change how we felt towards her in the slightest. It is because of the way she raised us, with a firm but loving hand, that I have become the person I am today. I give her so much credit for that, and for staying so strong while we were growing up even though I know that it wasn’t easy.

She was our guiding light after the divorce. Even after we moved out of our childhood home, she was able to provide a stable and loving home for my sister and I when we really needed it. For a few years at the end there (before I moved out) she also basically raised my sister and I on her own – with no fault to my dad, that’s just how the scales balanced out.

And that leads me to the one lesson that I have taken away above all else from my mom; that there are just some things in this world that cannot be changed. This was a mantra that enveloped our house after the move. Life happens. Sometimes it’s the lowest point of our lives, sometimes is those euphoric moments we will remember forever. But we need to focus our energies on the things that we can change rather than those that we can’t.

When I was going through a bit of a tough time last year this piece of advice often came back to me. Without going into all the gory little details, there was a situation I was in that I didn’t think I could get out of. It weighed me down so much that I felt as if there was no escape from the depression (and I use this term very, very lightly) that was setting in. When I realized that I couldn’t really change what was happening to me, I decided to change the way I thought about it. I decided to be more proactive in my thinking. With help from my mom, I managed to get through that point in my life and to a place now that has brought me some of the happiest moments I have ever known.

I have so much to thank my mom for. She is the strongest person I know. I seriously don’t know how she does it. From years of watching her navigate life, through every single up and every single down, I have learned what strength truly looks like. The courage my mother demonstrates on almost a daily basis and the sacrifices she has made for my sister and I have only proven what an incredible woman she is – and who I should aspire to be.

Mom, you deserve so much more than I am able to say within this blog post. First, you were the “enemy” (don’t get mad LOL). Then you were my mother. And now I have the honour of calling you my friend. I think that’s the simplest way of stating how I feel.

Thank you.

It is so hard to tell your parents just how grateful you are. It’s even harder to remember to do it at all. But I wanted to at least attempt it. I am approaching twenty very quickly and that has made me think about where I’ve come from. I was given the greatest parents I could have ever asked for in this life (in any life really) and I just wanted to say thank you. Without you, Mom and Dad, I would not be even close to the person I am today – and I really do like who I am. So… thank you.

 
Photo by Markus Spiske