Parents

Friday, September 28, 2018

Brunch with my parents over Labor Day weekend at my favorite restaurant in Redmond, WA - Woodblock

The more times the earth rotates around the sun, the more I recognize how valuable my parents really are.

I've lived away from my parents since I was 18 with the exception of when I broke my leg after college - HA.

And every passing year, it's always been a pain point for me to live so far away. I've missed Christmases, birthdays, Mothers day, Fathers day, anniversaries, and everything in between.

But South Dakota is my first home - I knew my neighbors. I was raised on a family farm. I knew my classmates. Teachers cared for us like their own kids. I knew my friends parents as well as my friends.

My parents gave me everything they could.

Even though we grew up extremely poor.

I remember having snow drifts in our house, or having leaks in our roof, all full well knowing we couldn't afford to fix any of those. We were lucky to have a working car that when we pulled into a parking lot, was often made fun of because it was that ragged. I grew up in a town that the average salary was between $11,000-$20,000 per YEAR, and that was a dual income.

But my parents made me feel like we had everything we could possibly have.

And I am so grateful and proud to be where I am from - An at the time 174 population rural town.

I love where I was raised. I love that my work ethic, my values for hospitality, and my love for my Faith are deeply rooted in how and where I was raised.

But I'm also different - my life philosophies, career, interests, where I feel like I belong isn't fully possible where I grew up.

And reconciling that has been one of the biggest challenges of my adult life.

But I write this for the people who like to remind me that my parents are getting older and their unwanted advice or guilt trip of thinking I should, "quit my job, move back near my parents, and take care of them"....

YES. I know. They're my parents...and have you met my parents? If I even mention they're "old" you would have thought I told them that the earth was a triangle.

My parents visited over Labor Day and I asked them what they wanted for their kids out of life.

They said they hoped their kids had faith, family, and a good job. More or less I have most of those crossed off. And I thought that without saying it, those are exactly the 3 things that I visibly prioritize to this day.

I then asked them if they ever thought I'd move home...and they told me ever since I was a teenager and saw how curious I was about the world, that it was unlikely I'd ever come back if I moved.

I love my parents, the ones that gave me everything they could, and of course I honor them and celebrate them in different ways since I live so far away.

But they also raised me to be self sufficient. They raised me to explore, pursue my passions and my paychecks equally. 

They raised me to live my life AND to value family ties, and that the mileage between us was not mutually exclusive to do both.

And to be real, I actually tried moving back to South Dakota 3 times (When my Mom had cancer, Spring of 2016, and Summer of 2018)...and a job fell through EVERY time...I took it as God, the world, whatever was telling me, it's not time yet.

So for the next friend, "family member" (the ones that talk shit behind my back about what I post or what I believe, but will never have the backbone to say it to my face) or whoever has a judgement to pass that I don't live near my parents - stay in your lane.

I may move near my parents in a year, 5 years, or never.

And that will be my burden to carry, not yours.

And that decision is so complicated that you can never possibly understand. My parents are not your parents, clearly - Because my parents taught me to not intrude on other families' affairs.

My parents are high on my priority list.

But your opinion as what I should do as a "Midwestern woman" is not even in the top 1000.

The 2-4 times a year I do spend with my parents, is rich, quality time...Asking hard questions, loving them, treating them well, and packing in as much connection as possible.

Some families are built to be spread apart and come together....and some are built to stay in their village...and both and all options are good because every family connection is different.

Thank you Mom & Dad - For the life you've created for me and for the support you continuously give as I live my love affair with my own life. 

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