Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Twenty Six Years

On March 22, 1986, two high school sweethearts said their vows and tied the knot. They were young. They had no money, and lots of people thought they would never make it. Twenty-six years later, I am blessed to say they have proven those people wrong. Those high school sweethearts were my parents, and they are celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Since that day in 1986, my parents have gone to college, established careers, raised three wonderful daughters (if I do say so, myself), and given so much to our community. I am beyond blessed to be able to call them my parents.

My Mom and Dad are true examples of people who started with nearly nothing and worked hard for everything they have. When I was first born, my Dad was going to college, working full time, and helping my Mom raise me. He told me he can remember days when he would be on the way home from Troy and would not even have enough change in the cupholder to buy a drink at the store. Sometimes when I start to complain about how hard I'm having to work in medical school, I think about that story. Yes, medical school is hard, and I am working harder than I have ever had to work in my life, but I never have to worry about not having enough money to meet my basic needs. My mom is equally hard-working. She works full time, keeps our house spotless, does all the laundry, and helps take her of her parents. I don't know how she has enough hours in the day to do everything she does. I can only hope that one day I can have the same work ethic as my parents.

For as long as I can remember, my house has been like a Kinston version of Grand Central Station. As a family, we are blessed with so many close friends, and it has always been our philosophy that we should make everyone feel like our home is their home. In high school, my parents opened our home to all my friends. It was always buzzing with commotion as we got ready for Friday night football games, volleyball games, and Homecoming dances. My Mom always had snacks waiting on us, and we always had room for one more at the dinner table. When softball season rolled around, the entire softball team was adopted as family. We celebrated wins at our house, strategized after losses, and cried over season ending injuries. There are just no words to explain how accepting, generous, and caring my parents have been throughout the years. Even today, at twenty-five years old, I know without a doubt that anytime I need to go home, my parents will be there with open arms.

I can honestly say I can't remember one important event in my life that my parents have missed. One of them has been at every volleyball game, softball game, cheerleading event, Prom, honors banquet, athletic banquet, school play, church play, the list goes on and on...and on. The older I get, the more I see how much my parents truly sacrifice for us. My Dad always jokes that if he didn't have all three of us, he would definitely have enough money for a house at the beach. While that may be true, I know they would not have it any other way. We are the apples of our parents eye. We will always be their little girls, no matter how old we get.

Sometimes I honestly worry that when I grow up and have my own family one day, there will be no way my "grown-up" family can compare to my "growing up" family. I guess it's hard for me to understand how it really could ever get any better. I worry that I won't raise my children the right way, or that my family won't be as close. However, I have faith that God has someone incredible in store for me. He is going to see to it that I have an equally awesome family, and a marriage as solid as my parents'.

My family is my rock. I would never be able to get through the struggles of life without them...and the foundation of my family is my parents. I don't thank God enough for them. Bethany, Baylee, and I are truly blessed. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both so very much!