Saturday, September 5, 2009

Part One: Memories of a Grateful Daughter: Introduction

For those who knew my parents, how they were different was far more obvious than what they had in common. My father was a tall man, around six feet tall. He had strong, sharp facial features especially his nose. His eyes were dull from poor eyesight and rarely seen without his glasses. His hair was blonde. He was serious and an imposing presence. His humor was dry and when he laughed it was never out of embarrassment or condescension, but because something struck him as incredibly funny. Often it was found in something that was a mystery to me. He was quiet and though I would not have said so during my early years, he was shy. He was thoughtful and intelligent and trusted that in his mind, he could work out, eventually, any problem he would encounter. He had less confidence in his ability to deal with people. For that he depended on my mother.

Mom was petite with jet black hair. Though as age turned my father’s blonde to grey, a bottle turned my mom’s to blonde, and that is how many remember her. She is just over five feet tall. Though never really pleased with the ankles (or lack there of) that God had given her, she had a remarkable figure. Her waist was one of the tiniest I had ever seen. My twelve year old stick figure could not fit properly into the clothes she had worn on her honey moon. Her blue eyes are incredibly bright and animated and disappear when she smiles. Though as a child she was incredibly shy, her college years had shed the reserve and a butterfly emerged. She has the ability to make people feel at ease. She finds humor in everything, especially herself, and uses no economy when it comes to her laugh. Her genius is in her ability to create relationships and to give comfort and advice in the dealings of human beings. The pettiest of problems was heard and responded to as if the security of the nation depended on it.

I would have described their love of one another as a respect and a dependence on the part of my mom, and a respect and an admiration on the part of my father. This was an enormous error on my part. Their respect, dependence and admiration were equal in the most profound way. What they needed, admired and respected were merely different. With regard to their children, again they differed. My dad was a rock of security to us. Whether we agreed with him or not, we knew he was honest and unchanging. My mother was above all our source of comfort. From our physical needs to our emotional, it was she who took it upon herself to determine and provide what we needed.

What they had in common was love. Their love of one another, their love of their children, their love of conversation and most importantly their love of God. Each of these loves was manifested in different ways.

With regard to conversation, it was central to their relationship with each other. My mom has the gift of gab and loves to talk to anyone. My dad, though less likely to initiate it, could talk knowledgably about anything. I never remember once going to either one of them to talk and being turned away. My mom sees conversation as a means to create relationship. My father saw it as an integral part of those he had.

Their love of God was central to all of the other loves. It was because they loved God and their Catholic Faith that they were able to love each other and us in an undeniable way. No matter what I felt about them at each and every moment of my life, I knew three things in the most concrete of ways: They loved God, they loved each other, and they loved me!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the most important things! What a blessing to have grown up with parents like this.