Family

by Amy Weitzel

Amy_Weitzel_cropped.JPGOh, those times when you commit to writing a blog, but the creative juices just aren’t flowing. That’s when you take to the Internet grasping at straws, begging the God of Blog Writing to send inspiration … and send it soon.

When all else fails, what is the month celebrating or signifying?

National Diabetes Month: I’m sure someone else is grabbing this topic.

Hunger Awareness Month: I am currently dieting (summer was good to me), but I’m pretty sure this isn’t what they mean.

Good Nutrition Month: Because I’m dieting I’m also bitter about my inability to enjoy a Little Debbie snack cake, so I’m going to skip this one.

National Family Reunion Planning Month.

Wait. What?

Planning month? Most family reunions are in the summer, so we start planning in November? And we have an actual month for it? I chuckled out loud.

But then I remember my mom visiting the previous weekend. It had been 18 months since she had last come to visit due to health problems. I had seen both my parents just a few months prior on a trip to my childhood home, and I was painfully aware of the passage of time. My home had changed. The countryside in which I had grown up had changed. And my parents had changed as well.

It was, for the first time in my life, when I realized my parents weren’t always going to be in my life.

They’re always there, our parents. They were there when I fell and scraped my knee as a child. They were there for my first heartbreak. They were there when my first child was born. And the second. And the third. They were there for every heartbreaking moment of my divorce. My mom couldn’t be there when I graduated with my MBA, but she watched it streaming online. Now that’s devotion.

Good times and bad times, they are always there … until they’re not.

My friend just lost her mother. When she was 13, she lost her father to cancer. It hit me that at 42, she’s an orphan. I know that sounds ridiculous because she’s an adult, but even as adults we need the love and unconditional support of our moms and dads.

When I started dating my partner, we spoke on the phone one night for more than an hour, and as we were saying our goodbyes, one of his last comments was, “I haven’t talked that long on the phone since my mom was still alive.” I think of a picture he has of the two of them dancing together and the way she’s looking at him with the love that only a parent can understand. And my heart breaks for his loss.

There are so many times in my busy life I think about calling my mom and dad, but I don’t. I think, “I’ll call another time when I’m not so busy.” Weeks will go by. But what happens if that chance doesn’t happen again?

My mom and I walked downtown on her recent visit, got a coffee and went antique shopping. We talked about our love of antiques and the antiques she has from ancestors long gone and heirlooms of her own she wants to pass down. I treasure these heirlooms as memories of my parents, their parents and the lives that are no longer. I continue to be amazed at current generations and how they are not wanting their parents’ hand-me-downs.

I love spending time with my own children – my oldest daughter who lives nearby, my son who proudly serves in the United States Marine Corps in Japan, and my youngest daughter who still lives at home. I don’t get to speak to my son often, but when we get to FaceTime, I think I could just look at his face for an hour without saying a word. I’m sure my parents feel the same about me.

It’s so easy to push our parents to the side because of our busy schedules or being frustrated by repeated stories or what we view as antiquated viewpoints. But the truth of the matter is that for most of us, no one will ever love us more than our parents. Our parents have sacrificed their time and money because of their undying love for us. My mom has often said she would kill or be killed for her children. Growing up, my dad always told me I was his No. 1 girl. I never questioned their love for me. I’m truly blessed with two great people to call mom and dad.

In fact, I think I’m going to go call them now. And maybe I’ll start planning a family reunion for next summer.

In loving memory of Pearl Poitras and Brenda Kathleen Trautman.

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