My parents shaped my world. I had a charmed childhood. The amazing adventures I take as a young adult are a testament to my well-rounded upbringing and my parents influences in all that I do. At the age of twenty-five I catch myself finding hints of them in who I am, in the way I talk, the way I think, and how I act. Honestly, I pretty much see them as big children that decided to have kids one day. I think this is because their strong personalities have never faded. My mom is tough, very smart, a born athlete and sure of herself and my father being a renaissance man is friends with everyone to this day.
They each have strong identities that cannot be overshadowed by parenthood and for that I am so glad. Hey, we may have been exposed to some crazy adult parties, especially Halloween. And we may been pulled out of school on the first day our new home in Texas had its very own pool open for service. ‘Fun’ being the optimum word here. My brother, sister and I had buckets of fun. Which got me thinking of who my mom and my dad were as people B.C. (before children), when they were my age; young and free. I desperately wanted to get to know them then. I was beyond curious to learn who my dad and my mom were as people; if I were to walk into a bar and they were there. Maybe see them in a grocery store or walking around town. What would it be like to know them? I am certain I am not as cool as they were. I jokingly refer to my parents as “my olds.” Not only are my olds my greatest protectors, advisors and supporters; they’re also my friends. So I researched the life I treasure and gathered all the pieces that led me to how I came from theirs.
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My parents are both from the town Elk Grove Village, a suburb outside of the Chicago, IL. I’ve haven’t taken a poll but I think it’s a safe popular opinion that opposites attract. The ideal significant other would be from a far away and every day with them would be like learning something new. To me, I couldn’t be more grateful that my roots are planted solely in one place. So I can give Chi-Town my whole heart. In my opinion, your roots are something to take pride in and for me my firm identity has really allowed me to spread my wings. There is no denying their differences but in so many ways toping that with a flag “Dan the Nice Guy” early on in his career.
The likelihood of me running into my parents at the pub Carlos Murphy’s is highly likely. That was their hub for frequent hang outs. I imagine we would meet there and bond over some musician, since my childhood consisted of happy memories and all the lyrics of my parents’ favorite songs they drowned me in. We would talk about my amazing experience living aboard in Spain and their adventurous trips to Ireland and China. As surreal, as meeting your parents before you were born would be, it would give me the chance to see them in their element and on their career paths. I’d probably witness some terrible 80’s fashion faux pas, even if we can’t blame our parents solely for the 80’s, I’d like to believe they skipped the 80s all together as my mom claims. My parents had fond memories of the eighties, outside of fashion of course.
If I were to meet my parents in some weird “back to the future” scenario I probably wouldn’t tell them who I was, because I’m not in the habit of announcing how crazy that would be, or getting myself into weird scenarios like the Michael J. Fox prom date / car scene in Back to the Future. I think the only thing I would tell them is about my family and how much I love my party of five. Little would they know the people I appreciate were in fact them.
People change; they get older but the core of who they are never goes away. It’s in the way they talk about the people they cherish the most. After all, I couldn’t be prouder to be the daughter of Dan Butler and Gail Kilduff-Butler. I pinch myself basking in my roots and branches (relatives) and nuts (relatives) of my family tree stretching in every direction. The funny thing is I can see their young 25 / 27 year old selves next to me so clearly because I see it all time when we're hanging out; laughing. I love my parents today as I always have and if time were ever linear the gratitude I'd feel from just being with my first friends would manifest in my heart forever. Maybe if we met then I wouldn't have been suck a brat-villa my senior year of high school. Nevertheless, I must visit Carlos Murphy's one day! I love them and the shape of my world. I could only hope the shape of my tree will forever be a mighty oak.