We all owe the wonderful men and women who raised us a big hug – today and every day. Give that hug an upgrade by reminding your role models how grateful you are for one (or more!) of these 20 lessons that I know I wasn’t the only one that learned
~ 20 Things To Thank Your Parents For Today ~
1). When I was a year old, my dad held me in his arms and told me that every time he looked into my blue eyes, he knew he was wrapped around my little finger. My dad taught me that the love between family is instant and once it takes hold of you, it never lets go.
2). When I was two years old, my mom sat me down for lunch. A few moments later she dropped her jaw as I uttered my first sentence: “Daddy, you like raisins..do you?” Grinning from ear to ear, my mom taught me the importance of celebrating one another’s victories, no matter how small.
3). When I was three years old, I had an “accident” in the middle of my grandpa’s kitchen. I watched my mom grumble frustrated words I didn’t yet understand under her breath. I started to cry, my cheeks flushing hot with embarrassment. But my mom taught me that everyone has accidents and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of.
4). When I was four years old, I painted a ceramic turtle in pre-school. It wasn’t green like everyone else’s; it had splotches of blue on its shell and a deformed looking red heart near his foot. I brought it home and my dad immediately displayed my strange looking turtle proudly on the dashboard of his car. My dad taught me to never be afraid of doing things differently than others.
5). When I was five years old, my parents and I said goodbye to our house in the dessert. For my dad, that meant saying goodbye to the Joshua tree he could never make grow. My dad taught me it’s okay to walk away from things that aren’t working out because unlike the tree, we are not meant to be rooted down.
6). When I was six years old, my parents and I took a trip to Hawaii. I was picked to go on stage during a show and drink coconut milk from its shell. Once I got on stage I was nervous and didn’t want to participate. My dad joined me on stage and told me to take it anyways. My dad taught me that sometimes, it’s best to finish what you started and not be afraid to try new things.
7). When I was seven years old, my class had a substitute teacher. This substitute teacher was stiff and never smiled, so during recess I decided to give her a hug. One of the other kids saw me and made fun of me. I went home upset to my mom, who taught me that everyone enjoys hugs and the world could use more kindness like that.
8). When I was eight years old, I failed a spelling test. I stuffed it under the the TV stand so my parents wouldn’t find it. A few hours later I brought it to my dad because I felt so guilty. My dad taught me that guilt is there for a reason – to help us do the right thing. Then he helped me study for my next test.
9). When I was nine years old my Kim Possible ringtone went off in class. I pretended the cell phone belonged to the girl next to me. I went home with a note to my mom and she taught me that we should always take responsibility for our mistakes.
10). When I was ten years old I had my birthday party at a mall and shopped with my four best friends until it was time for cake. My mom bought me a plastic tiara to wear and taught me that everybody should get to feel like a million bucks on their birthdays.
11). When I was eleven years old I carpooled with a girl whose mom always made snide, hurtful comments to me. It really bothered me until I told my mom and she taught me that some people are so unhappy with their lives that they try to hurt others and we should pity those people- not be angry with them.
12). When I was twelve years old my dad took me on a river rafting trip just the two of us. At the end of the trip our group went around in a circle naming our favorite parts of the trip and after sharing, everyone got to pick a souvenir. I sat with my new friends worried that by the time it was my turn in the circle the T-shirts would run out. My dad’s turn came and he picked the last kid’s shirt for me. My dad taught me how there are many ways to make your family happy.
13). When I was thirteen years old I used to hide black eyeliner everywhere: at school, at friends’ houses, anywhere my mom couldn’t take it away. One night we went to dinner with the family and she sent me to the bathroom to wash the black eyeliner off of my eyes. Then sent me twice more when I didn’t get it all. My mom taught me there’s a time and a place for everything, and I shouldn’t be in such a hurry to grow up.
14). When I was fourteen years old, I didn’t have a date to my first high school dance. My mom taught me not to worry about boys, and to just go have a good time with my friends. I did.
15). When I was fifteen years old, I thought of nothing other than my first, real boyfriend. I didn’t tell my dad and when he found out, he taught me that you shouldn’t hide things that make you happy from those who love you.
16). When I was sixteen years old, I got caught drinking for the first time. My dad called a family meeting, brought BBQ food, and drew out a plan for me to regain my parents trust back. Then, he made a deal with me that I could go to the parties as long as I checked in throughout the night because he’d prefer to know I’m safe than to have me sneak around. My dad taught me the importance of letting go and prioritizing safety over control.
17). When I was seventeen years old, I sat in a ball on my dorm bed and sobbed over FaceTime to my mom because I was homesick. My mom taught me that she’s always just a plane flight away and nothing is permanent. If you’re unhappy, you can leave.
18). When I was eighteen years old I started working at Hooters and was afraid my dad would be angry. My dad taught me that any job is something to be proud of, because there are tons of people who either can’t work or can’t find work and to work is a blessing.
19). When I was nineteen years old I challenged my screaming eating disorder by having a big stack of chocolate chip pancakes. At breakfast I went to pour milk into my coffee, using the little spoon to measure no more than 10 calories of milk. My mom asked me why I had to do that and pointed out that it was an unhealthy behavior. It’s something I hadn’t even considered to be disordered, but my mom taught me that we must continuously be aware of our actions and work to improve them.
20). When I was twenty years old I made a life change that made me feel lost and lonely. My mom taught me that at twenty years old love and success and money are not the goal. The goal is self discovery.
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