Day 3 is about my parents.
My parents are from Detroit, Michigan – notably, the bad neighborhoods. They both grew up rough-and-tumble and street-wise. Dad’s parents moved to West Virginia and, later, my parents followed them there, making a huge leap from city life to rural mountain life. They planned to have me once they had a house and, when they were both 25, I was born into a small house on an acre of land in a forest in the hills.
My mom never graduated high school, but she is one of the most independent people I know. She is the epitome of badass female power; she is unafraid to say what she thinks and take what she wants. At the same time, she taught me kindness and compassion, how to chase a dream without trampling people along the way. She refused to let me be submissive and refused to let me be weak (I was a quiet child). She gave me all the tools I’d need to succeed as a person. “Adapt, improvise, overcome” is her adage. She’s far from perfect, but she knows her weaknesses and does her best with what she’s got.
My dad is a professional electrician with a zillion licenses and no college education; he’s made it in a challenging field with nothing but his brain and skills. He’s something of a workaholic. He’s very intelligent and has a quick temper; yet, he is still compassionate, generous, and kind, and he tries to be as respectful and polite as he can. He has some old-fashioned views, which clash with mine, but he still hears me out and is willing to accept my ideas as possible. He expresses affection through material gifts and money – he taught me the value of a dollar – and he is unbelievably devoted to family. He’s not happy if he’s not providing for and taking care of someone who needs him.
My parents got divorced when I was 18– well, a couple months before I turned 18, but they waited to tell me to prove that we were still a family. After the surprise wore off, I was fine with it, since they’d be happier apart than together. They both still live in West Virginia, Mom in the house I grew up in and Dad about 90 minutes away. My mom got engaged again last year to a wonderful man, whom I am happy to consider family.
I love both my parents immensely and am grateful for everything they taught me; I’m a lot like both of them.