Parents. When we are young, we can’t stand them. Constantly asking where we are, buying those clothes we really can’t stand to wear, and making us do those awful chores we’d rather be watching TV than doing. Growing up, I’m sure I wasn’t the easiest kid, I always seemed to find the most expensive sports to be part of, and I seemed to always go for quality in anything I owned. Although, this is a fairly good trait, it wasn’t so good on the checkbook. My parents, having modest professions, and by far not millionaires, gave me the best they could, and I took it, and used it, and wore it out.
It didn’t take me long into college to realize how much I missed the constant nagging. I no longer had my parents around to help me with decisions, or force a decision upon me. I was responsible for myself, and for what I became. I began to look back on how I was raised, and the values and morals my parents shared with me, and helped me develop. Things like, cooking, cleaning, making my bed, driving, yard work, having a job, being responsible for my car, being respectful to others, knowing my place, being kind, being honest, being trustworthy, dedication, commitment, and honoring them as my parents.
I sit here on the plane, flying back to Colorado from a week at home, and I’m incredibly saddened by the amount of time I actually get with my parents. They see me once a year, two at most. And every time it’s shorter than the last, or so it seems. The parents I once couldn’t get away from are now the ones I wish I could be with all the time.
Both of my parents are remarried now, and I couldn’t be happier for the both of them. Having two step families come into my life also means more family for me to visit, to see, and to spend time with. This also means more memories to miss, and more time I wish I could see them. My step brother is returning home from the navy in a few weeks, and I want more than anything to see him come in on his ship, and see him hold his baby girl and two boys in her arms, and his beautiful wife. Just as I saw both my mother and father kiss my new step parents at their weddings.My littler brother is just as crazy as I am. He’s grown up so fast, I can’t seem to catch up. He’s like the best friend I never talk to. Yet, every time I come home, it’s as natural as if I never left. He’s grown up, he’s in college, he’s got a job, he’s got a serious girlfriend.
While I’ve been off chasing my dreams, there is a lot I have missed. There’s a lot I wish I had been around for. Do I feel guilty about it? Yes. But I also know, that just as I am chasing my dreams, my family couldn’t be more proud of me, and they support me in every single step. My entire family knows how much I love them, and I would be home in a minute if I could.
I know I have debts to pay to my parents for the life they gave me growing up. I was given the best to their ability so that I could succeed and grow like I did. I was put in the world of cycling by chance, but they worked and nurtured my way through the sport with love and words of encouragement, and allowing their 16-year-old daughter to go on rides all over town, with many dangers in the way.
Every time I go home, I’m reminded of how precious life is, and how much we take it for granted. We don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, and because of that, we need to tell those we love, that we do in fact love them. And we need to look back on the teachings of our parents and be grateful for the life we had as children. I could not be more proud of my parents, and I will never be able to give back to them what they taught me. I hope one day I can be as great of a parent as they were, and I can use the things I learned from them to guide my children in the right direction.
I wish I had my mom and dad around to help me through life’s ups and downs, and to celebrate the little victories I so often forget to tell them about. My life has become crazy, busy, and I often forget about what it really boils down too. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to respect my elders, and that is something I use everyday, but I often forget about the closest and most important people in my life.
I can’t wait to go home again. It grounds me. It reminds me of the little things in life. It reminds me of the people who are looking forward to seeing me reach the top-level. It reminds me of where I have come from, and why I am doing what I am. Home is where I belong. LA is great, but it’s not home.
I wouldn’t be where I am without my parents. I mean, they gave birth to me, but they taught me the tools I needed to be as successful as I have been. The more I learn and grow, the more I use these tools, and the better I’m going to get.
So, thank you, mom and dad. I love you more than words can say, and I can’t wait to come home again. And when I do, I’m sure I’ll be asking, “What’s for dinner?”
(And I really hope I’m not driving the go-cart at Christmas.)