They were there to greet us eyes full of love the day we entered this world. They cheered as we took our first steps and held us close to comfort us after each fall.
They made sure we had snacks to eat and that we brushed every day. At night, they tucked us in with our favorite stuffed toy, soothing any fear away.
Then when the time came, they painfully dropped us off at school, but only smiled and said we were going to do great. And they sat many hours in drop-off and pick-up lines and always were so excited to see us, and to hear all about our day, even when they were tired.
So many sacrifices they made throughout our school years: taking time from work for field trips and lunches at school, for lessons, appointments, evenings at practices and spent cheering at all our games, birthday parties, family vacations, helping with homework, teaching us to drive, and…
Finally college. We were excited to spread our wings and after doing everything they could to help us settle in, they went back home to the nest and cried. But, they never told us.
And still, as we crossed the gap between childhood and adulthood, they were always there when we needed them and always on our side. An ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and always, always an encourager, a believer in who we were. A believer in who we would become.
Graduation and our first job, engagement and marriage, no one in all the world was happier for us than they. And the excitement they showed with the news of our expecting, no one could rival. Pure bliss.
And then with our eyes full of love on the arrival of our perfect little gift, we could finally understand a fraction of all they have felt and done and all the beautiful love and sacrifice they poured over us, to help us grow. And we wonder how they made it all seem so easy and how we never heard them complain.
Then one day we really thank them, maybe for the first time in our life.
The mutual love they have for our children and the shared excitement over all the firsts, just melts our hearts. They are an endless source of wisdom for all our crazy parenting adventures. And we are thankful for cell phones and messages and computers that keep us connected over the miles.
And one day the adventure that we are having so far away, suddenly seems a little hollow and lonely without them near. And we wish that we lived closer and we miss them with all our hearts and we finally realize just how lonely they must have felt when we set off to conquer the world. Our heart breaks a little to think of the pain they must have felt.
Then at a time we least suspect, we get the call. A single diagnosis has turned their world upside down, ours too. And we realize just how precious and fragile and short this life is. We assumed that their special, unconditional love, extended to us the moment we took our first breath, would always be there for us and we are now aware that one day that won’t be the case.
We’re determined, more than ever, not to take a single moment for granted. And we hope and pray that we are given many more years where we can lavish love and support on them, the way they have lavished it on us all these years.
Always by our side, one of God’s greatest gifts to us in this life is our parents.