I love my parents.
They are fun and funny. They are thoughtful and generous. They encourage adventures and shenanigans of every sort. They are practical jokers and expert margarita makers. They don’t do anything halfway (especially Christmas). They model a marriage that has seen it’s rough patches but has emerged stronger. They are just amazing people.
AND they love my kids. Which is important.
They spent a week in Arizona recently (and I LOVE that they choose to road trip instead of fly… they are the reason I love road trips so much) and we had an absolute ball. From ballet to desert hiking to Christmas choir practice at the nursing home, they got a little sneak peek into what our life is like these days. They helped the kids do their math books, study Asian geography and treated us to a dinner at a local Chinese restaurant (that counts as an Asia-related field trip, right?) We watched movies daily (the kids were in HEAVEN), belted old musical lyrics at the top of our lungs (Happiest Millionaire, Singin’ in the Rain, White Christmas, and more…!) and ultimately decided to decorate for Christmas a bit early.
Not surprisingly, we had helpers…
I have been thinking a lot about my folks and I realized that one of my favorite things about them is their tendency towards “hands off” parenting. Not that they don’t love/support/encourage me, but they are not overbearing with their opinions. This was true even when I was younger – they allowed me to pursue what I wanted to pursue (academics, extracurriculars, college choices, international travel solo, etc.) and then were by my side, cheering me on the whole way. And now as an adult, when I head down a road that they don’t necessarily understand (homeschooling, vegetarianism, international adoption, starting my own business, etc) instead of withdrawing their support, they let me give it a go. And they ask questions and learn along the way without trying to dissuade me from the decision. It’s the flip side of the “let them fail” principle. When you are willing to let your kids fail, you are also allowing them to flourish in an unexpected way.
I’m going to try and remember how much I appreciate this the day one of MY kids tells me they are ready to study abroad at the age of 18. But I may have changed my parenting philosophy by then…
Anyway. It was a great visit, and a great way to kick off our Christmas season. Our tree lights are turned on each night, the holiday music has begun and the stockings are hung (by the front door with care…) even though it’s not even Thanksgiving. This Christmas-craze has been deeply imbedded in me from my earliest years and will stay with me until my last Christmas.
It’s just one of a million fabulous traditions I get to thank my parents for. 🙂