This holiday season has definitely reminded me personally of how much I love my parents. They're great parents--really. They never babied me, bossed me, forced me to come to specific conclusions about life or to be the person that they wanted me to be.
They never forced me to do specific assigned activities that I hated doing. I even remember an argument--I likely heard about this argument when I was a bit older that my parents had when I was but a little one regarding whether or not I would be allowed to wear my sparkly she-ra princess of power outfit and cape (complete with head piece and full makeup of course) to the grocery store with my Mom. Most Moms would've been embarrassed, you see, but not mine. My Mom proudly carted me around the grocery store in my Halloween best (probably dodging more than a few judgmental glares from other parents and adults in so doing). My parents taught me how to play baseball, football and hockey, but also allowed me to participate in modeling, cheerleading, dance, language camp, guitar, poms and voice lessons. Some of these activities, they even bankrolled-ill advised though other parents may have thought them to be. In short, my parents guided me but allowed me to be the person I was and develop into the person that I am now. My parents didn't buy me expensive toys (I'm still waiting on that Nintendo, complete with Super Mario Bros.) or allow me to eat sugary cereals (I would've eaten cookie crisp and fruit loops for breakfast, lunch and dinner, left to my own devices). I was taught to cook for myself at a very early age. I didn't rely on Mom to cook me three delicious meals every day of my life.
I was encouraged to start working as soon as I was able and I did just that. Because of that, I developed a strong work ethic very early on that dare I say is sorely missing in this world, especially among kids. My parents didn't judge me and they didn't shelter me. As a kid, I always took that style of parenting for granted, but now that I'm a grown-up, I see just how tricky and delicate that balance was to create and maintain.
As a child and subsequently as an adult, I always know that I can count on my parents whenever I need them--maybe not to buy me a house or a car, but in more meaningful ways. I can count on them not to judge me, label me, put me down or cause me harm, and most importantly (let's be honest), I can always count on them to buy lunch! As an adult and as a lifestyle consultant, I know now how truly rare that is. I am lucky enough not only to have many great memories of growing up, but not to have any icky, sick or damaging ones. I'm certainly not suggesting that I'm perfect. My parents weren't either, but they were pretty damned close, and I'm thankful for that.