The Things My Parents Taught Me, Without Them Even Knowing

The Things My Parents Taught Me, Without Them Even Knowing

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The very first distinct memory I have in life is being upset at preschool because another little girl in my class wouldn’t share my favorite doll with me. Sounds stupid, right? However, it wasn’t to me when I was four. I remember being bitter and purely sad…I felt left out and all I wanted was my mom.

From an extremely young age, we go to our parents as our role models, mentors, friends, and personal hero’s. They’ve been the ones to change all the dirty diapers, apply Band-Aids to “boo-boo’s” that weren’t even existent, make a PB & J five days a week for 11 years straights, and crawl into bed when there’s scary monsters in the closet.

Fast-forward a decade and they’re still right by your side, whether you want them to be or not. Your bratty teenage attitude has them at their breaking point and you could care less; you’re “too cool” to be seen with dad at the grocery store, let alone anywhere. The lunches that mom makes are no longer satisfying enough, and, the relentless reminder that you have to do your homework turns into screaming matches and locked bedroom doors.

Today, I am 20 years old and in my third year of college. Want to know who I miss the most? The woman who carpooled me to cheerleading each week and the man who gave me numerous trips to Disney World…otherwise known as mom and dad.

Looking back I would have made it nowhere in life if I didn’t have these two. They’ve shaped me into the person I am, and strive to be, each day I open my eyes. There is a sad part to this situation and that sad part is that they aren’t around to see it anymore. Mom and dad aren’t around to celebrate with me when I get a good grade, or have dinner waiting on the table when I get home from a practice. It’s beautifully tragic. And the reason I say that is because, yes, it is upsetting they are no longer there every second in my day, but the beautiful part is they don’t need to be.

It’s the smallest things I have my parents to thank for: Knowing grades come before play, to say please and thank you whenever I am at a guests house, to accept all of those around me, regardless of appearance or social group, and to love those that I care about unconditionally. I’ve learned to help others as much as possible, but to put myself first when its necessary. Budgeting my bank account, staying healthy as possible, knowing due dates, having an amazing wardrobe, doing chores, and being organized comes from both of them as well. The most valuable thing I’ve learned from them, though, is not to take life too seriously. My mom and dad are two of the most fun-loving individuals I know, and trust me, being in college you meet plenty of fun-lovers. They’ve taught me its okay to take a day to myself and appreciate the small things. It’s acceptable to mess up on a test, or eat an entire plate of cookies when I’m sad. In my eyes, life is too short to be anything but happy, and I owe infamous Mom and Dad for that motto, along with everything else I have become and will be for the rest of my life. I love you both infinitely.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.

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Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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