Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 3: Mis Padres

Today is a breath-taking day in Portland: in the high 60's/low 70's, cloudless, and gorgeous. Summer is lingering into the Fall and I am very glad. Today I decided to go back to my roots in a way. I'm at Floyd's Coffee Shop in SE Morrison; this is the very, very first place I went my first day alone in Portland. It was a Sunday, we went to church, then I dropped AJ off at the airport, got back in my car and had probably one of the biggest meltdowns of my life. I was alone. In Portland, Oregon. And the first place I sought solace in was a coffee shop. My GPS helped me find Floyd's and when Floyd's closed I headed to Palio's and I've pretty much been finding comfort and peace in Portland coffee shops ever since. They really are my home away from home.

So, what to say about my parents....First, my dad, David, I've always called him "Daddy" (I'm one of those girls). The older I get the more I realize that my dad is pretty much the best dad in the entire world; he has shown me what a good father, a good husband, and a good man look like. He's 58 and for my whole life he's worked in a chemical plant. He was born in California because his dad was in the military, then he grew up in Orlando, Florida, where his dad tragically died, and moved to Houston when he was a teenager because my grandmother was from the Houston area and had family there. He mostly lived in Houston since then except for a period of time when he lived in Tucson, Arizona, was in the military, and was married once before. He moved back to Houston in the 70's, met my mom, and has been there ever since. My dad is an extremely hard worker and has always made lots of sacrifices to make sure our family had everything we needed, and pretty much everything we wanted.

When I was a kid I thought my dad was so much fun: he was always doing stuff in the yard like putting out the sprinkler or shoveling huge piles of sand, he built a huge garden, he would set up the kiddie swimming pool for us, he tickled us, made us laugh, built forts for us, played with us in the swimming pool, played baseball in the backyard with us, made us listen to lots of classic rock, let me sit in his lap when we watched Gremlins, and let us have lots of pets that he had to clean up after. Once he made us a fort (out of blankets and furniture) with a window in it so that we could still watch cartoons; that was pretty epic in my mind, I think for years after that I would say, "remember that time Daddy made a fort with a window!?!".

My dad also gave me a love for traveling! Some of my favorite memories in my entire life are of family road trips; my parents would load my brother and I in the car with toys and snacks and we were set. When I was around 8 years old we drove to California and went to Disneyland. When I was around 10 we drove all over the South. When I was 17 we drove all the way up the East Coast to Maine and Niagara Falls and when I was 23 we drove up almost the whole coast of California, went across all the way over to South Dakota and back down to Texas. I've been to 41 states, mostly thanks to family road trips, and I can't wait to make it to all 50!

As an adult I've come to really respect my dad for his logical, practical mindset. When I'm facing a situation and don't know what to do, he is definitely the person I would go to for advice and he makes me feel like any financial problem can be handled well if you're smart about it, but he's also fun and knows when to splurge on the right things. I feel extremely blessed to have my dad be my dad.

Wow, this is long....

My mom is Laura, when I was a kid I called her "Mama" and now I call her "Mother", I don't know why, it just happened. She is 51, a teacher, and a lifelong Houstonian. When I was a kid she stayed at home with us, we use to watch soap operas and eat chips & salsa, and I use to drink her cold coffee. I LOVED my mother, LOVED. I still do, but when I was a kid I thought she was the be-all, end-all of life itself. In my mind she was always cleaning our house and the smell of lemon Pledge still reminds me of her and my childhood. She was also always taking baths and talking to my grandmother on the phone. I loved going out to eat and shopping with my mom and grandma...wait, I still love that :) She loves dogs, traveling, reading, Jesus, coffee, wine, tea rooms, and Hugh Grant movies.

I don't even know how to describe my mother. I think she really might be the nicest, best person in the world. Frequently throughout my life I have been asked, "does your mom ever get mad?" and the answer, not really. She will not be mean to anyone, even if they're clearly rude to her, she loves everyone, is never rude or snobby, and NEVER lies, not even white lies, not even things that would maybe perhaps even a tiny bit hint at a lie (my dad calls her "Honest Abe" haha). I don't think she means to be, but my mom is also hilarious, her idealistic ways and when she gets frustrated with something crack me up.

There is no one that I feel like I can be more myself with than my mother, I love talking to her and telling  her things and she has seen me in every horrible possible way you can see a human being and in the good moments too and she has never judged me or been unsupportive in any way. I have the best, most meaningful conversations with my mom. And my mom loves, loves, loves her children, there is no doubt about that, she has always been fully devoted to my brother and me. I am extremely grateful my mom is my mom.

As we get older I think my brother is more like my mom and I'm more like my dad, but we're a good mix of both. My whole life I took my parents for granted and thought that's just what parents were like, but as an adult I have realized how incredibly blessed my brother and I were (and are) to have the parents we have.

Every time I think about my parents and my childhood, I am reminded of the verse "From everyone who has been give much, much will be demanded..." (Luke 12:48). I know that not everyone has great parents and wonderful childhood memories, so I try to remember that the strong foundation I was given as a child is meant to be a springboard for me to bless others as an adult. I hope to one day have my own family and pass on the legacy of a strong, loving, supportive family. Here's a picture from my college graduation in 2006:

Thanks Mother & Daddy! :)

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