Did you know that today, July 24, 2011, is Parent’s Day? Me either. I assume Parent’s Day falls on the fourth Sunday in July each year and was created to synthesize the rift caused in families by separate Mother’s and Father’s days. Of course I am being dramatic about it, but over the years as I transitioned from son to father, I have often wondered why not a day for both parents? Those of us fortunate enough to be raised by two would love the opportunity to celebrate them both. Also, as a parent, it just seems more…legitimate. Any man can be a father, but just like the proverbial Tango, being parents takes two.

I absolutely love my parents. It was not always so. Much of who we are come from our parents, positive and negative, whether we like it or not. It has always been said that we can not choose our parents, yet even when we feel we have the worst parents on earth, we have to admit that most times we’re a perfect fit. My mother was and is the center of my universe. I revolve around her like planets around the sun – from my career, to how I sit, my mannerisms, ways of saying things – in truth, I am a Momma’s boy. Her influence permeates throughout my life, even when we don’t speak for months. My father showed me and socialized me to be a man, a hard worker who cares for his children and does all of this with very few words. Of course I didn’t get the few words part, but as I grow older it is like watching myself grow into him. After his death in 2006, I noticed myself morphing into him, his looks, his attitude, his speech patterns and persona. So on this Parent’s Day, I would like to honor them by accepting that I was born unto who I was for a reason, and they did everything they did to make me who I am now.

As a parent, I often feel sorry for my children. My parents were older when I was born, 36 and 41 and a half, so I wanted children young. I would have been a teenage parent if luck and circumstance had not been on my side. I feel sorry for my kids sometimes because they had to grow with me, go through hardships and challenges as I grew into the man I am now, and never had the stability I had growing up. My children right now are 19, 15 and 5 and we are just now “making it.” I know that those hardships and challenges will somehow benefit my children, but as a parent, we want nothing but the best for them, and unfortunately, the best is sometimes a lofty, but unapproachable goal. Let us use this Parent’s Day to reflect on our own changes and challenges and look forward to watching life tread out in front of us and from under us. I have done many things in my life, but by far the most difficult has been being a good father and husband – being a Parent.

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