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Raising Parents

February 18, 2005 - 12:00am -- swingbug

So my dad gave me an awesome compliment yesterday. (I bet he didn't know it was going to show up here, but hey, that's the danger of having a kid for a writer. I keep threatening that I'm going to write a book about the family one day. So far they've escaped okay.)

Dad said, "You are such a wonderful mix of your father, mother and your own goo." If you know my parents at all then you'd know what an amazing compliment that is. My family rocks. When I was a kid, even when I was in high school and the word "parent" was synonymous with "uncool", all my friends wanted to hang out at my house. I didn't have better toys and my parents didn't let us get away with anything more than other parents would. They're just easy-going, loving people that are nice to be around. And I'm not just saying that because they're the only ones who read this stuff.

And check this out. I'm 26 years old and I call my parents probably twice a week, and not out of guilt. I actually want to talk to them. That's a rare thing. When I was in college some of my friends gave me a hard time about that. Get you own life, cut the cord, etc. Whatever. Talking to the people that love you is never a bad thing.

People always talk about how hard it is raise kids, but there is something to be said for the difficulties in raising parents as well. They're learning about being parents while you're learning about being a person. You grow and change together and because of each other. That's a family. As hard of a transition as it must be for parents to see their kids leave home and do okay out there in the big bad world on their own, it's also difficult for kids to see their parents living at home and carrying on the "family thing" without them, even (god forbid) changing the "family thing."

It seems like when parents look at their children, they see them not only as they are now, but as they were, all the steps along the way. Kids look at their parents that way too. We remember you before you had this parenting thing totally down (first wobbly steps). We remember all your different stages along the way. It's quite a remarkable thing to stand there and look at someone who once changed your diapers, who taught you to read, who taught you to dance, who grew six new gray hairs teaching you to drive, who is now, functionally anyway, an equal and and friend. You see all those things together at one time in one person you love. Remarkable.

Thanks for the compliment, Dad. There is really no higher praise.

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