This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. For many it signifies the ending of school and to others the ‘official’ beginning of summer. For most, it is a time to remember all who have given their lives in service to this country. For me, it is to take the annual trip to Buffalo, NY to visit my parents grave sites with my sister and a couple of my brothers. My Mom has been gone 10 years now and my Dad, 4 years. Both served in the armed forces during World War II. My Dad was at Pearl Harbor that fateful day and later was stationed in Alaska. My Mom was an Army nurse who stood for hours in the operation rooms in Europe helping to save the young men there.
But that was not who they were. As we traveled to Buffalo, my brother and I were talking about our childhood. We both agreed we had a great childhood and were blessed. We didn’t have much in the way of stuff as we were growing up, but we did have a true sense of family. As my parents struggled to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads, we kids, found ourselves learning to do things on our own. Of course, Dad would definitely let us know when we did something really stupid.
I learned to be independent, creative and to love nature, mainly because Mom ‘kicked’ us outside to play all the time. I learned the value of working for what I wanted in life, giving back, being part of a community and being open to all experiences and people. All this from parents who didn’t have the need to micro manage us.
As this Memorial Day comes upon us, not only am I grateful to all who have served to make this country free, I am grateful to my parents who laid the foundation of who I am today. I really miss them.