To My Parents, Now That I Am Adult

To My Parents, Now That I Am Adult

I just wanted to show how much I appreciate you.
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Mom and Dad,

I just wanted to start off by saying Thank You, for everything.

I know I probably wasn't the easiest child to deal with due to all my medical problems and what not, but you did. Thank you for taking care of me all those years of my life, both the good and bad times. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made to make my sister and I happy.

As I've become older, I realize all the thing you both did for me that I took for granted. Everything that you did for me, I have started to have to do for myself. I want to thank you for preparing me for that.

Thank you for being the perfect amount of strict and lax, and for not being overbearing, for teaching me that if I have a problem I need to try and solve it myself before coming to you.

Thank you for showing me how to be independent, but at the same time making sure I know what is expected of me.

Mom, I've only begun to appreciate everything you do for me and have done for me. I've realized that even as a young adult I still sometimes need my mother. I have come to realize that even though it may not seem like it, at times, you always have my best interest at heart.

I am truly thankful to have you as a role model in my life. Mom, As I've become older, I have realized the old saying is true, there is nothing like a mothers love (even from over 1,000 miles away).

Dad, I think the thing I will remember most are the father-daughter lunch dates we would go on after doctors appointments. Growing up, you taught me that a fathers love means everything.

You were the first man in my life to love me and while you won't be the last, you are special. You were the one to show me how a man should love a treat me and for that, I am so grateful.

I know I was never a perfect child ( and I'm still not), but I am a lucky one to have you as parents and can only hope that I will do as good as a job raising my children as you have done raising me.

I know I don't always show it or even say it but I love you guys. Words will never be enough to describe how much I appreciate you both.

With Love,

Your Oldest Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Lauren McCally

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

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You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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I Wish As A Child I Understood That Sometimes Two Houses Are Really Better Than One

A broken home isn't always a bad thing.

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I can't sit here and pretend to know anything about marriage. I've heard that "marriage isn't easy; it requires a lot of give and take." I can, however, tell you about divorce. Growing up you never think that your parents will fall out of love. How could they? And while you may always be too young to understand the ins and outs of your parent's relationship, divorce affects more than just the people married. Researcher Judith Wallerstein proved in her well-known study on divorce that an unhappy marriage is better than no marriage for children. Not only are kids oblivious to the flaws in the marriage, but no marriage at all can have negative long-term effects on the children, especially in future relationships. However, a limitation of this experiment was that Wallerstein did not study high-conflict marriage, where divorce is not a problem that needs to be fixed; it's a solution.

Parents often tell their children that "mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore," even if there are other reasons for splitting up. Divorce is difficult for children to understand so this is the line that is fed most often to them. Therefore, the one concept children struggle with the most is how could parents fall out of love? To answer this question we have to define love. The internet defines love as "an intense feeling of deep affection," but I think TIME is more accurate with their article titled "We Are Defining Love The Wrong Way," in which Rabbi David Wolpe states that Too many women have told me, bruises visible on their faces, that the husbands who struck them love them.

Since they see love as a feeling, the word hides the truth, which is that you do not love someone whom you repeatedly beat and abuse. You may have very strong feelings about them, you may even believe you cannot live without them, but you do not love them. When I was growing up my mom always told me that it was her job to teach me to distinguish between "a man who flatters me and a man who compliments me; a man who spends money on me and a man who invests in me; a man who lusts after me and a man who loves me." I never realized how important it is to be able to distinguish between lust and love. These two words are so different, but society uses them interchangeably.

So how should love be defined then? I believe that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says it best: "Love is patient and kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails."

So now try to put your spouse or significant others name as a substitute every time those verses refer to love. Can you do so without laughing? If not, then your relationship might be based more on lust than love. This doesn't mean that it will never have a firm foundation of love; it just means that it will take time to build this kind of sturdy foundation. The problem is not divorce; the problem is the lack of willingness to foster the type of love a marriage requires. The biggest misconception about divorce is that it causes a home to be broken when in reality the home was broken, to begin with. Divorce allows there to be two strong support systems that are much healthier than one dysfunctional family unit. Coming from a divorced family, this is something I wish I understood as a child.

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