Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mom and Dad, a celebration.


People never seem to know which of my parents I resemble more. I have my father's fair skin, my mother's long graceful (on her at least!) limbs and narrow feet, Mom's smile, Dad's hazel eyes.

(Also, the only way I can account for my light-colored hair - the only "blonde" in our family of four - is by looking at Dad's towheaded photos from childhood, though his hair turned dark as a teenager.)

"You look like both of them!" folks will say, which I take as a compliment and a blessing, not only because they have good genes.

More than the physical traits they gave me, I notice the soul traits, the brain traits, the likes and dislikes, the reactions and responses that mashed together from each of them to make me. My competitive nature watching any sport (Dad). My calm nature when I swim, the only sport I love to do (Mom). The Oldies rock stations (Dad). NPR (Mom). Mountains (Dad). Beach (Mom). There are more, but a wonderful thing about my parents is that they appreciate what the other appreciates; I can't say that one dislikes what the other likes. There's a sense of evenness, of equality and enjoyment within their life together.

I like to call myself an ambivert, an extroverted introvert, and that combination alone is Dad + Mom, no questions there. From Dad, I connect with people; from Mom, I connect with my self. Dad gave me chatting with strangers and speaking in public, Mom gave me listening and writing my thoughts.

But the fun thing is that it's not a fine line. My mother is an excellent public speaker with many close friends, and my father writes wonderful reflections and happily goes biking on his own. So really, the lines are blurred always, constantly showing me a different part of each of them within myself, showing me what it means to be a human with so many parts that come from history, from mystery, from nature and nurture.

I am enough like both of my parents that I've never much felt like there was something I could tell one that I couldn't tell the other. From Charlotte to Atlanta we sit with our phones set to speaker, and they listen to me talk, ramble even, and they offer their opinions - sometimes different, sometimes the same. And no matter what, the conversation always ends with strength, with certainty: with their love and support, overflowing from both of my vessels who have shaped me, loved me, taught me by their living, and let me shape myself. 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and Happy Birthday, Dad!


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