Gratitude days 8-11

So nevermind that I’m officially 4 days behind. I’ve been wanting to write something about my awesome family so I’m going to take this opportunity to give thanks for my parents. All four of them. So now, in reverse chronological order of when they came into my life:

Steve, or Stephen, my mom’s husband came into my life just as I was getting truly obnoxious. He and my mom married during my senior year of high school. I was already 18 and pretty dang sure of myself. He’s been a model of patience and kindness to me despite all of the crap I’ve done. It’s really amazing considering he didn’t have the head start that many of my family had, to get to know ‘nice, cute and sweet Rachael’. (I swear that version did exist many, many years ago.) I’m also especially thankful for how he cares for my mom. Much like myself, she’s challenging and stubborn and not terribly shy about expressing her displeasure at something. He handles her with grace, treats her with respect, and together they have found a great strength in their marriage.

Kathy, my dad’s wife, is an entity unto herself. Her passion is genuinely contagious and her hospitality is unending. She’s taught me a lot about strength through our weakest moments, and also about the joy of plain silliness. I know for her, life with me has been far from easy as well, but even as she stood her ground many times, she never lost faith in me, and for that I’m so grateful. I’m also thankful for how her relationship with my dad has, in turn, made my relationship with my dad better. They have their own way of loving and supporting each other that had been an inspiration to me.

Dad, is my dad. And while his genetic input allowed me to exist, we didn’t technically meet until a few months later. It’s hard for me to know where to begin expressing my thankfulness for our relationship. There were many times, especially as a teenager, I couldn’t have felt more the opposite. For a long time it I thought maybe we had such a hard time relating to each other because I’m so much like my mom, but now as an adult, coexisting in the same community, I’ve also realized how much like him I can be. I couldn’t tell you what shifted for us, but in hindsight, I know he’s always been there, even when I didn’t want him to be. And now, as our family continues to grow, I couldn’t be more grateful for his love and support.

And finally Mom. First, because of my current situation, I have to express my gratitude for inspiring me to want to be a mother myself. The rest of our relationship is as beautiful as it is complicated. We’ve been friends, enemies, co-conspirators, safety nets, and of course nurturing mother and needy child. I’m thankful for all the times she said ‘no’ to me, even though there probably should have been a few more. I’m thankful for every great big, over the top idea she’s come up with to make occasions feel special. And I’m thankful for the times she’s allowed me to step in and help her out when she’s overwhelmed. I’m thankful that as much as I’m still her little girl, I’ve also become a strong (stubborn) woman under her watch.

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