A beloved member of our former church died this past week, and my mom went to his memorial service on Monday. The parking lot and church were at capacity with people who loved him and wanted to share their memories of him. His family members told stories that were a beautiful tribute to the caring, loving person he was. Thinking about his service, I realized that the real tragedy is that people have to wait until they're dead to hear about how much they mean to others and what memories are the strongest. Considering that people should be honored and highlighted before they die, I'd like to tell you all little about my parents. Don't worry, though my parents likely to game the senior citizen discount at the movie theater, they aren't going anywhere for at least 30 years.
To say the least, I have incredibly cool parents, and not in the "my parents bought us beer in high school" or the "my mom roams Georgetown in Juicy track suits " try-hard kind of way, but in that enduring, real way. I've been in awe of my mother for as long as I can remember. For example, back in the 80s, my parents were freaking fabulous. My mom looked straight out of Dallas or Dynasty with her wardrobe, jewels, and fur coat. My dad was always whisking her off to fancy dinners and lovely evenings. I would sit at home with my babysitter Nancy, making her listen to my play-by-play recap of mom getting ready to go out, with all of her make up, clothes, jewelry, and tray of perfumes. My mom has a no-nonsense way of handling things, so not only was she glamorous, but she was strong and in control at all times too.
It took me longer to realize that my dad was cool. All of my friends thought he was the best, but since he was my dad, I obviously thought he was embarrassing since kids rarely see the value of their own "funny" dad. He did things like cause an error on his car phone (yeah, car phone, it was the 80s) that made it go "wee ooh wee ooh" to turn on the pee siren when someone in the car had a pee emergency. He also brought home green bread and dyed my milk green on St. Patrick's Day because, you know, why not?
The truth is, I wish I could go back in time and appreciate my dad like I do now. My dear ol' dad is wild, creative, and a genius. He knows everyone in a 15 mile radius of their house--he's even been invited over for dinner by the guy working at his 7-11. He's manly enough to demolish an entire bathroom (never admitting it was a bad idea) and awesome enough to openly admit that his favorite color is purple.
After I went to college, my parents became reality show worthy with their antics. Honestly, my family is nutty as all get out now. Since I left home, my mother flew off the back of the treadmill and got her foot stuck in the wall; my dad has made big-ticket purchases in the middle of the night while on Ambien; and my parents went exploring one night, only to drive their car halfway off of a cliff and have to call the police and a tow truck for help (they were fine, but the car almost went over with Dad in it)--and that is just a small sampling of what they've been up to.
Despite their recent tomfoolery, there's no two ways about it--I grew up privileged. My parents anticipated my needs and wants before I even knew what they could possibly be. Everything I have now and have had for all of these years is a direct result of my dad's hard work and my mom's saint-like patience. As a semi-adult, I now understand what effort they went to to make my life absolutely trouble-free and perfect. My parents will continue to be two of the most important people in my life and my best friends.