My parents are important to me. They gave me an incredible start in life, and keep giving me the best gift any child can have: stability and unwavering love.
I spent most of this morning working around my parent's house, doing little odd jobs for them that they are just getting too old to do themselves. I cleaned out their garage (which was actually quite fun because I got to use the leaf blower and just blow the leaves & dust out.... I love power tools), laid down a couple of strips of Pergo flooring in the garage so they don't have to walk on the cold concrete, changed some lightbulbs up on the roof. Then dad and I went out to breakfast/lunch after that, at about 11:30, and drank our usual coupla pots of coffee. Went over to Home Depot to get some weather stripping for the bottom of the garage doors and some sprinkler heads. Then we went back home and I nailed on the weather stripping while dad (yes, blind dad) dug up the broken sprinkler head and replaced it by himself!
I often do little things like this for my parents. I do it out of love and loyalty and kindess. They just seem to be the kinds of things a son should be doing for his parents as they grow old. But I was just blown away when mom and dad gave me a gift today. Now, my birthday is Thursday, but mom was very clear: this is not a birthday present. It's a thank you gift. Their way of saying thank you for doing so many little things around the house and helping them out.
That about knocked me over. I do these things because I feel like I SHOULD be doing them, because of the good parents they've been to me, and all the times they've helped ME. When they do things like this for ME, it just helps me to realize what good people they are and how lucky I've been in my life to have pretty decent parents.
This evening I had a good friend over. She and her kids came over, along with a 2-week old foster daughter (actually more like 12 days old), and had dinner and used The Gift my parents gave me to make dessert. Afterward we watched a movie (The Fighting Temptions, which has great music, and I'll go ahead and say it here in print, if Beyonce ever knocks on my door, you will likely never see me again!), and during the movie I got to hold the little baby. Her name is Shawna, and she is just darling. I fed her a bottle, and bounced her on my chest with the music for over and hour (no, she didn't spit-up!). She was wide awake and looking all around. She seemed pretty comfortable with me. I had such a good time. Mind you, I have NO desire to have more children of my own, but that doesn't mean I don't like children. It is such a joy to hold and play with a new-born baby. They remind me of the miracle of life, and just how precious it is.
It was nice having adult company, too. My friend's daughters are 16 and 17, so they're pretty self-reliant. We all had dinner, hung out and enjoyed the movie, had a few laughs, played with the baby, and then it was time to go home.
Days like this remind me how important family and friends are. I sometimes neglect them, and it's sad that I do. I've never really known how to be a good friend, because it takes a lot of work.
Days like this remind how rewarding that work can be, and why it's important.
Oh... the gift was a smoothie maker - one of those cool ones w/the spout on the bottom so you can just pour it into your glass without taking the blender off the pedestal. Pretty cool....