Graduation is impending and before my family arrives, I wanted to write something about them. There are many people to thank and, although its said by many, I really wouldn’t be a doctor without my parents.
My parents are an interesting breed. I like to think of them as “progressive traditionalists.” Both were raised in South Alabama and my moral compass and etiquette standards are in line with such upbringings (or at least I like to think so). If we’re having “company,” you clean as if the Queen was arriving. If you don’t receive a hand-written thank you note from me, you can assume that I am sick, injured, or dead. And, if said thank you note is written “incorrectly,” (meaning incorrect greeting to all recipients or not personal enough), I’ll probably have to write a new one.
However, my parents are very forward thinking and open minded. I like to think my parents told me to “lean in” before that was the cool thing to say or do. I was always encouraged to be able to take care of myself. I can hear my mom repeating, “You girls need to be able to take care of yourself without a man – you can’t rely on other people to support yourself!” It was never questioned that I wasn’t capable of anything I wanted to do, even when klutzy Meggie would trip down our stairs every day or make the toilet overflow and run down the walls the day before the house inspector came to close on our house (true story).
My parents are the most selfless people I know. Looking back, it seems like every waking moment of theirs was spent thinking about how to better our (the kids) lives. Meggie loves gymnastics and wants to learn her kip really badly? We’ll build a bar in the backyard! Allison wants to take acting classes? Sure! I can’t think of a moment that my parents didn’t go above and beyond to help me go above and beyond in what I wanted to achieve.
To this day, even at the age of 27, it seems my parents internal compass revolves around us children. Maybe that’s how all parents are, but I wanted to put it out into the universe how much I appreciate mine. At an age (27 years old) well considered “adulthood,” my mom is running around our hometown finding furniture and dishes for my new apartment and my dad drove me to one of my residency interviews this winter telling me “his favorite thing to do is spend time with his children.”
Growing up my parents would always tell me, “We are FOR you, not against you” whenever I would tell them they were being “so unfair.” While my family has surely pointed out my faults — my clumsiness, my naivete — my capabilities were never questioned. I thank my parents for first believing in me, which, in turn, helped me believe in myself. Because of my parents, I thought of myself as smart, strong, and able. There wasn’t nothing I couldn’t do if I worked hard.
All of these things are said about many parents, but I just wanted to speak of mine.
So, thanks, Mom and Dad. You’re the best. I love you.
[P.S. A Happy Happy Birthday to my best friend in the entire world, my sister, Allison! 25 years old. Don’t go have a quarter life crisis on me, Ally!]
[P.P.S. Little Harry you’re cool, too. I felt bad leaving you out of this.]