Dear Dad & Mom,
I’d like to talk to you about a few things. Sit back for a minute, grab a drink, and let me tell you what’s on my mind.
Going back in time, over 80 years ago, when you were just a couple of youngsters, life was very different from today. Listening to you over the past few months as you’ve shared details of your life with me has taught me things about you I didn’t already know – what a surprise, right? I want you to know how much it means to me, having this time with you. I feel incredibly grateful that both of you are still here and able to tell me these stories, and I’m going to keep coming around and bugging you on a regular basis!
I want to share some of the things I’ve learned.
World War 2 was a difficult time, leaving families wondering about tomorrow when their loved one would return home, how a family could survive when their main breadwinner was called to serve. Putting food on the table, keeping kids in school, affording the necessities, all these things were of great concern. Thank goodness for an extended family that came together to help one another!
Lesson: Strength comes from trying circumstances. Helping others makes your load less heavy.
Living in a house without running water or electricity was normal. Telephones had not yet been invented, and certainly weren’t the huge time-draining focus they are today. No television, but sometimes a radio was available, for updates about the war and shows like The Roy Rogers Show or Gene Autry Melody Ranch. Imagination, letter writing, hard work, sharing with your neighbor, learning to find happiness in the things that mattered.
Lesson: When you have family and friends who care about you, you can overcome the most difficult circumstances.
You found your way to each other, began working, served your country, married and began a family at a young age. Listening to you talk about those days, looking at pictures from that time in your life, has helped me to see you as “real people”. With struggles and problems, yes, but also with a strong sense of family, love, and determination. I understand a little more about you both, what makes you tick, what makes you happy, what is important.
Lesson: There is always more to learn and appreciate about the people in your life.
So much has happened in those 80 years. Looking at the photos from so long ago – it was a big deal to have your picture taken. Not everyone had a camera at their fingertips. Camera phones weren’t even a “thing” when my own children were growing up. Aircraft, television, cars, technology – I never thought I’d see my 80-year-old Mom texting her grandchildren! And Dad writing stories about his life and using email on the computer. What huge advancements have been made in your lifetimes!
Many other things have changed as well. The way we communicate and get our news – instantly. The way we work – most people don’t stay at the same company and draw retirement, there are “mobile” jobs online. The way we play – my grandparents never took either of you to the beach or to France or the Grand Canyon on vacations. The expectations we have for our own lives and the tremendous range of opportunities that were unavailable in the past are possible today.
Lesson: Appreciate what you have today, taking nothing for granted.
Rising above the circumstances of your younger years, you managed to find your way through life, making sure your children grew up never feeling neglected or deprived. You both set high standards for us and showed us a wonderful example of a loving marriage. You have shown us how to be strong through tragedies and courageous in facing the world. You raised a wonderful family (if I do say so myself). You’ve passed down your frugal ways to some of us (you know who you are)… You’ve passed down your moral code and love of God. Your respect for others, sense of responsibility, love of family, appreciation for the good things in your life, your generous, giving spirits are qualities we all admire. I can see some of both of you in each of us, all the way down to your great-grandchildren. And that’s a good thing, a reason to be proud, a piece of you that is always with us!
Lesson: What you do and say, the example you set and the influence you have as you live your life MATTERS and makes a difference to those around you!
There is every reason to be proud of the lives you have lived. Because I know how quickly our lives can be taken from us, I wanted to be sure to tell you these things while you are still here to listen and I’m still here to say them.
As Mother’s Day approaches and Father’s Day soon following, I just want you both to know how special you are to me. I will always appreciate you, love you, and treasure the lifetime we have had together and the future still to come. I couldn’t have asked for better parents!
Lesson: It doesn’t hurt to be a humble, grateful child.
Thanks for Passing Down the Love… I Love both of you, yesterday, today and always!
— Your Daughter
Sue ODell says
Ditto from your other daughter! Hugs and love to the best parents!