I had a really interesting conversation with an anonymous friend (at least as far as online anonymity goes), during which she said some really interesting things. I wish I had saved the messages so I could quote exactly but I'll do so to the best of my recollection:
- "I just wish I could find someone who treats me like you did."
- "I would marry you simply for the fact that I know that I would smile every day for the rest of my life."
- "Papa said that I deserve someone who treats me like he treats Mama, and that pretty much just leaves you."
I'm incredibly fortunate to have the parents I do. It seems like I become more and more aware of just how amazing they are with every passing day. How'd you guys do it?! I get frustrated with a roommate leaving his pile of dirty clothes in front of the fan in one corner of the room and putting his lacrosse gear on the AC next to my bed in the other corner (hence the perpetual state of funk in my room). How did you raise 6 kids, adopt another, take in an entire family, and then snag me another brother, and still have room in your house and hearts to make it a haven and sanctuary for friends of any of the aforementioned in times of distress or for no reason at all? Don't make the mistake of thinking I'm writing this as some sort of survival story either: you did it so well!
Even with everything going on you taught me probably the greatest thing I will ever learn. I could not have imagined any better example of how to treat the people I love. Even when Mama got overwhelmed and had no options left but to yell at us to get us to do simple stuff, in retrospect it was always a) obvious that she loved us regardless, b) followed by an apology and reminder of how much we were loved, and c) probably much less than we deserved.
*** Love you Mama, but now back to the point that got me started***
Pardon the expression but, Damn! I can't think of any better way to sum up what a phenomenal example of a leader, teacher, friend, brother, father and most importantly husband you have been and will continue to be. In psych, we had a survey of different questions and the point of the lesson aside, one of them was the most influential person in our lives. There wasn't a doubt in my mind, nor a hesitation in my hand. I barely thought about it by the time "Dad" was on the page. I don't think there is space to write how much I owe you.
Thank you for helping me develop this chivalry complex, for showing me what it really means to love someone with every inch of yourself, and for teaching me how to act towards the people that matter most to me. I don't know how you did it... What I do know is that someday, if I am ever a tenth of the man you are, someone's daughter will come up to you and thank you -- and it'll happen because when my wife says she's the luckiest woman in the world, I'm going to blame you.