the gifts my parents gave to me

Posted on June 19, 2016


… and are still giving.

(a reflection on Father’s Day, 2016)


Presence is a great gift given to me by my parents

mom and dad… and they still give to me consistently and predictably.

Everyday of my childhood, when I returned from school, my mom was waiting for me with a smile and a hug… everyday! What a rare gift.

Just before high school graduation, my father said to me,

“If I had to do it all over again, I would have spent more time with you.”

I felt blessed, and yet, shocked because my parents were there at every football game, every band competition and concert, in every way I could imagine, quietly present and being a part of my life. They were always home in the evenings and weekends. We always ate meals together and we had lots of family time.


Stability and consistency are great gifts that was given to me by my parents

… giving me the feeling of being safe, on solid ground.

They were always there  whether I needed them or not,

… they were always there.

That means that I could depend on them whenever I did need them.

And it meant that I could depend on them to reach out to me in love. understanding, and tenderness always.

The first time I went to spend the night with a friend when I was 4 or 5 years old, I didn’t make it until the overnight part. Halfway through the evening, the parents started yelling at each other and I started crying and wouldn’t stop until my parents came and picked me up. I had never experienced such a thing!

After us kids were grown and out of the house, my parents had a toy poodle; a noisy, yappy, and bold little thing. My parents told me that once they raised their voices (probably slightly) during an argument, and they found the bold poodle hiding and quivering under the table.


Freedom to be me is another gift my parents gave to me

… never pushing me to be something they wanted me to be.

I never felt like my parents had their own agenda for my future. They allowed me to grow into the person that I am, no matter how similar or different it is from their own dreams for me. They never presumed to know what my life should look like. But they always expressed how proud they were of me, no matter how small or great my accomplishments.


And as you can see from what I have already written,

Unconditional Love is the greatest gift given to me by my parents.

That has been my safe harbor and my solid foundation through all of the storms and crashes that my adult life has bought. Without this solid foundation, I don’t think I would have made it this long on this earth.

But I did.

And I’m still here.

Thank you Mom and Dad.

“Without roots we can neither discover where we belong, nor can we grow. Without stability we cannot confront the basic questions of life. Without stability we cannot know our true selves. It is only as we put down roots into the earth that we begin to see the fruits. To be earthed is to come alive in a new sense of mission. A new capacity to give life is born, not by myself but in the body of community.” (Jean Vanier, Community and Growth)