Felagund Meme: Day 03 - Your Parents
I didn't realize that I wasn't supposed to like being around my parents until I was relatively old. Even then--even now--I had trouble getting the knack of that idea.
My parents never really treated me like a kid. By that, I don't mean that they were stuffing me into high heels and shoving me out the door to roam the mall by myself by the time I was six--quite the opposite. (One of my aunts once thought my parents terribly old-fashioned because they wouldn't let my sister and I--ages 6 and 8 at the time--roam the mall by ourselves. Although we were allowed to walk next door to the bookstore when my parents were at The Piece, which was all we wanted, truly.) I mean that they never talked down to us, like most people do to kids, and they expected a good deal of personal responsibility from us. For example, my friends' parents would "ground" them if they got low grades. My parents' philosophy was that if we could look them in the eye and say that that grade was the best we could do, that we'd truly tried, then that was what mattered.
Both of my parents were always hardworking people. My dad started in the print shop for the Maryland Department of Labor right out of vocational high school, intending to stay there for two weeks before moving on to something better. Next year, he'll be there for fifty years, having changed with the times to learn computers and become a network administrator. Now, he's technically retired by working part-time contractually in the director's office, creating forms and publications. When I was a kid, he also had his own typesetting business and did work for many of the big hospitals in central Maryland: St. Joe's, GBNC, and Sheppard Pratt. I remember quite well my dad disappearing into his basement office after supper with a cup of coffee in hand and working until one or two in the morning. Anyone who's ever wondered where I got my geekiness, there you go. Anyone who's ever wondered how I learned to be so relentless in my work habits, there you go too.
From my dad, too, I get my temper. He calls it "the tractor coming out." You won't hand him any wooden nickles--or if you do, you'll be mighty sorry for it! I was scared of my dad, when I was a kid, and convinced that he didn't like me much. When we started working together at The Piece, I think he learned to respect me as an adult, and we became really close. Years later, I would sometimes find ancient artwork that my sister and I had made for him and that he'd kept all of these years. One thing that we found--much to our embarrassment and amusement--was a pair of heads made out of paper bags and taped onto toilet-paper rolls, meant to represent him, for Father's Day. I couldn't believe that he kept those hideous things, but they apparently meant something to him. He also had framed in his office for many years a drawing I had done in colored markers of a turtle wearing a hairbow and with very sharp-looking toenails. Apparently, someone saw it once and liked it, and it was to be included in some magazine. I don't know if it ever was. He eventually brought it home, only because the sun was fading the colors, and he didn't want to see it ruined.
My mom was also always a hard worker. She worked in accounting for several years before I was born, then took time off to raise my sister and me as small kids before going back to work part-time at The Piece. The Piece had decided to sell prepackaged ice creams from a cart in the mall, and my mom worked on that for about a week, until they realized that they were paying her more than the cart was making and moved her to "SR," short for "service room" and euphemistic for washing dishes. She eventually moved up to waiting tables and, by the time she left The Piece 11 years later, was helping with general management duties like inventory and scheduling. For a while, she was the server trainer at The Piece, and I was the production trainer. That made getting on the same page with respect to training new menu items relatively easy.
She's another one, though, that never knew how to relax. She'd spend hours writing the schedule to make sure that every person who wanted a day off got it. She usually managed that, too. For a long while, she ran the store, after the general manager retired and was replaced by someone who really wasn't qualified for the job. Today, she also works as a part-time contractual for the Department of Labor in the department that investigates employers who aren't paying their fair share toward their employee's unemployment benefits. I never knew exactly what my mom did, actually, until our trip to Monticello a few weeks ago. When I found out, I told her that I thought she was a hero!
From my mom, I also get my ... relentless work habits. But I also get my creativity, although she claims that I don't. She's very crafty and an amazing interior decorator. She's never been trained formally in art but has the sense for it, like most talented artists do. From her, I also get my love for nature and living things and my sense of social justice, as she is also a very empathetic person who always taught me to consider the feelings of others.
As an adult, my parents are among my friends. It is rare when we don't see them at least once over the weekend. Growing up, I had many friends who couldn't stand their parents, who felt pressured and hounded by overwhelming expectations and critique. I know how lucky I am.
Day 01 - Introduce yourself
Day 02 - Your first love
Day 03 - Your parents
Day 04 - What you ate today
Day 05 - Your definition of love
Day 06 - Your day
Day 07 - Your best friend
Day 08 - A moment
Day 09 - Your beliefs
Day 10 - What you wore today
Day 11 - Your siblings
Day 12 - What’s in your bag
Day 13 - This week
Day 14 - What you wore today
Day 15 - Your dreams
Day 16 - Your first kiss
Day 17 - Your favorite memory
Day 18 - Your favorite birthday
Day 19 - Something you regret
Day 20 - This month
Day 21 - Another moment
Day 22 - Something that upsets you
Day 23 - Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 - Something that makes you cry
Day 25 - A first
Day 26 - Your fears
Day 27 - Your favorite place
Day 28 - Something that you miss
Day 29 - Your aspirations
Day 30 - One last moment
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!