Saturday, May 16, 2009

Parental lawnchairs

It's Summer. Well not officially for over a month according the the calendar, but everyone knows that the thermometer is the deciding factor in the seasons. Summer has arrived full force with all 100+ degress in tow. On my way out the door for another social event filled day off, I caught my dad mid conversation talking to an old family friend. To "catch" my dad in coversation isn't saying much. You couldn't "miss" the hearing-impared bellow of my dad's voice if you tried. Believe me, as a 7+ year shift worker right now on graveyard, I try to miss his loud voice every chance I get. His 30+ years of construction work sans earplugs coupled with the fact that he's going to be 70 this year, means that everyone can hear him. All. The. Time.

I caught the tail end of a sentence today and it made me stop in the hallway to hear the rest of what he was saying. He was talking about me. Not unusal, but it was what he was saying. He was telling his friend of 30+ years that he's earned a new appreciation for me. Not that parents shouldn't be impressed with their kids, but you figure that by the time they make it to adulthood, parents just sit back in the parental lawn chairs of life and merely observe once their kids get past 25ish. Back to what he was was something like this, "that girl is always moving, travelling, in and out of the house, and working all kinds of hours. I know she's sharp and keeps busy, but I've gotten a new appreciation for her just recently. She's so invovled with the officer's union and the talks to keep officer's jobs with the city council. She explained an article in the paper to me the other day and she spoke so quicky and had so much data, I really was impressed with her. One of these days she is going to make a great political leader."


That's a big deal. I know my dad is proud of me and even told my boss during an award's ceremony that his biggest accomplishments in life were his children, but to hear it in casual conversation when he knew no one was listening, that was pretty damned cool. Although it's great to hear it when it comes, I don't live my life looking for praise. My dad and I have a rocky relationship. I suspect it's because we're so much alike.

I had another pretty remarkable compliment sent to me last week from my ex-boyfriend's mother. Her and I always got along and somewhere in my moving on and trying to mend a broken heart, we lost touch. Like most great mothers out there, she has a mother's love for her children which you cannot compare to any other. I have more recently come to appreciate what that really means with my mother and especially with watching my friend's who have their own children. It doesn't matter how old you are, you're always someone's baby. When I told her I was surprised that she even remembered me from 8 years ago, this is what she had to say:

I remember talking to you right after 9/11 when Travis was on his way up to NY to try to help out. I was really scared for him then, I knew he would put himself in harms way if he had to just so he could help out.
It was good to have you to talk to then because you understood exactly what I was afraid of.

They always say that nothing compares to a mother's love, so even being on the same playing field with how she felt that day was a big deal for me to read all these years later. I guess I appreciate her for knowing how much I really loved her son even if it seemed like he didn't.

Parents are just people too.


  1. hmmm. this is nice. i haven't talked to my dad for about 6 months and i try to avoid my mom at all costs. your dad sounds adorable. parents know best... especially the greatness in their children.

  2. My dad is bullheaded, irrational, stubborn, semi-dementia stricken, but yes...a big kid at heart. :)