Friday, March 4, 2005

Who inspires you?

Just curious about WHO inspires you?

It may seem like a cliche' but my parents inspire me. Yes, that's an easy way out kind of answer. But it's true.

My Mom was the oldest of 7 kids. She helped my grandmother with all her siblings. But helping take care of the family didn't stop her from getting her education. She got her college degree. She became a math teacher. What's funny is that she's one of only two of them that DID get a degree. I still find that hard to believe. Thankfully with such a large family, my grandfather had a good steady job and was able to take care of everyone.

My Dad was the youngest of 3 kids. His parents had him LATE in life. His sisters were about 10 years older than him. He was like an only child. My grandparents didn't have much. They were dirt poor in a poor neighborhood. My Dad didn't like school. He'd skip a lot. He barely graduated from high school.

It's funny that my parents did get married. My Mom was the oldest and responsible. My Dad was the youngest and irresponsible. What brought them together was their faith. They attended the same church. The church was their extended family. It brought the neighborhood together and it brought the two of them together.

They married in March 1963. My Mom had my oldest sister at the end December 1963. That's right, she got pregnant right off the bat! Then my 2nd sister came 17 months later. Then I came 28 months after that. We immigrated to the United States after my 1st birthday. My Mom took a 24+ hour planetrip alone with us girls (my Dad was already here). I can't believe my Mom had me on one hip, while my sisters held onto her on each side. THAT was truly amazing.

In the early years, we bounced around a lot because of my father's job. We finally settled in one city and my folks have been there for 33 years. What I admire about them is that they came to this country with nothing and have been fortunate enough to buy a new home within 4 years. Since then they've lived in two other homes. They raised us three (then four) girls with no financial help. In the early years, it was just the two of them. When we were in elementary school, my grandmother came and lived with us. My uncle, my aunt, and my grandfather also lived with us for periods of time. My Dad even helped my grandmother, uncle, and aunt become American citizens.

Like all married couples, my parents had some rough patches. There was a time when my Dad almost left us. What's interesting about the two of them is they don't yell at each other. They never had a fight in front of us. Any kind of real arguing was done in private -- usually after we went to bed. My Dad's advice to us when we got married was "Never go to bed angry..."

To see the two of them now is funny. They act like little kids sometimes. They hold hands. They laugh at each other's foibles. They accept or ignore each other's faults. They know each other's strengths and weaknesses. They play off each other well. They worked through those rough times.

Why do they inspire me? Because they've worked for everything they've got in this world. They've shown me that hard work pays off. You have to work to get ahead. You shouldn't always look for the easy road. The rough stuff gives you character. It gives you something to work off of. It challenges you physically and mentally. I hope to be like them when I get to be their age. I hope to inspire my you've inspired me.

Happy 42nd Anniversary Mom & Dad!

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