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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lucky in My Choice of Parents

Don't you hate it when a blog title leads you on? Right now, you're probably thinking I adopted some passing couple and followed them home. The choice was God's, and I am lucky.

They drove in from Arizona last week, which is really nice of them. No airport pickup to deal with. They drive everywhere, including to Illinois, because they love our country and like to discover little out of the way places and people. They also stay at a hotel when they are in town because our condo's not that large. Actually, I think they need their space. Not that they don't like me, but isn't it nice to take your time getting ready for bed and not worry that someone else needs to brush her teeth? Spouses don't count. Spouses have routines.

Every time they visit, I'm reminded what incredible people raised me. There's no such thing as a disposable society to them, only people who waste things. My parents waste nothing, and that includes time and talent.

Dad always insists on fixing something, no matter how small. This time, he replaced a toilet. Last time, a toilet and bathroom counter. He comes from a generation of people who know how to use their hands, and it's a shame that more young people aren't shown how. My hubby has the same mentality, but after working 12-14 hour days, it's nice to have a father-in-law who can help out. I've got some knowledge, but the female lack of upper body strength is something scientists have not overcome. I know how to change a tire, but I'll be darned if I can turn the screws, especially after a machine has had a shot at them.

Mom brings her abundant talent for creating things. She can take a simple ball of yarn and weave it, bead it, sew it, knit it, or crochet it into something beautiful. Creating is a gift, especially when that something is serviceable and lovely to look at. She also loves books, especially mysteries, and we browse the book stores and exchange authors and revel in the genius of those who can give us a good yarn and make us laugh as a bonus.

Mostly, it's their attitude that both overwhelms me and inspires me. Problems are not something to complain about, they are challenges. Action is appropriate. Whining is useless. This positive attitude is what led them to success, and it's what allows them to enjoy what they have. It allows them to be generous, whether they are writing a check to St. Jude's or collecting donations for a poor school in New Mexico--and driving the donations there personally. They are positive people by choice, and that's a rare thing today.

When they leave, there' a gap. It's not only that I miss having family around, though I do. It's this incredible energy that they carry with them, the attitude that nothing is the end of the world. "Why don't you just do X?" is a common refrain, and when they say it, I give myself a mental forehead slap and wonder why I wasted so much time being fearful or distressed, when all I had to do was X.

I try to keep the inspiration going, try to remember the security they bring. It's difficult without their example, but it's why I have such a great long distance calling plan. I'm grateful for everything I have, and I'm especially grateful for the couple who brought me into this world and gave me so much love. I'm lucky.

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