I am so thankful for my parents. Today I was moving boxes full of school work from previous semesters and while looking through one of them, I found a letter that my dad had written to me about three years ago that I had filed away so I wouldn’t lose it. Let’s just say that as I read it, I couldn’t help but become overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for my parents. I stood there crying as I read those words that he had written to me, and it was just one of those moments that I was reminded of how deep my father’s love really is for me.
Here’s a letter for you to keep forever. This is a way for me to be able to communicate with you long after I’m gone. I just want you to know that I love you. No matter how old we get, no matter what’s going on in our lives, no matter what either of us are doing, you will always be my little girl. I will never forget you as “Raggedy Anne.” I will never forget your sweet voice. I will never forget your promise to take care of me when I’m an old man. Let’s face it: I’ve only got one daughter, and you’re it (or her, or whatever is correct!). Just don’t ever forget that I love you unconditionally. I WOBY! Love, Dad
I can’t type that without crying. A few months ago, I came home and had flowers sitting on my dresser with a card that read, “You’re the ONLY girl who will ever be my daughter. I love you and I’m proud of you. Dad” Seriously, people. I don’t know what I did to have parents that love me as much as mine do. It’s been over a year since I called my parents from a hotel room in Iowa, crying, hurt, afraid, alone, desperate, and just wanting to come home. I was 25 years old, I should’ve had my life together at that point. But I didn’t. And my parents never once judged me. They never asked a single question. They just got in the car and made that drive to Iowa to pick up their daughter. That, my friends, is the purest example of unconditional love. At Thanksgiving, my family has a tradition of taking turns saying one thing we are most thankful for and this year, there was no question. I am so thankful for parents who loved me enough to make that drive and just bring me home. I remember crying on the phone to my middle brother and telling him that all I wanted to do was be home and he said, “Rachel, call Mom and Dad. They’ll come get you.” And he was right.
The older that I get, the more I understand the sacrifices that my parents made for not only me, but for my brothers as well. We have never gone without. We’ve always had enough. Even when we were kids and poor as church mice, Mom took us to every free park and outing that there was. One of my favorite memories as a child is when Dad was in nursing school and working full time at La-Z-Boy. He’d get up every morning and make himself biscuits and jelly and after he ate, he’d come wake me up and put me in bed with Mom and then her and I would listen to Focus on the Family on the radio. She always pulled me in real close to her and she’d lock her legs in mine. Isn’t it funny the little details that we remember? When the program was over, we’d go to the kitchen and eat the left over breakfast that Dad had left for us. I remember living on South Street and Dad and I would play the “car game.” We’d start out by saying that the first car that drove by would be “mine” and then the next one was “his.” And we’d always get excited when a real nice car drove by that was “ours!” He played Hungry Bear with my brothers and me in the front yard. Mom made home made bubbles and play-dough for us and always had something crafty for us to try. Those memories are so dear to me. They are memories that I hope never leave my mind. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.
I love you, Mom and Dad. Forever. Thanks for everything. I can never tell you enough.