Friday, May 18, 2007

Parents' Sacrifices Offer Solid Ground for Kids, Adults

Mommy is heading to Dallas this weekend to catch up with my college girlfriends and help in one of the gal's wedding plans. Daddy is spending the weekend with Little K and some help from my in-laws. I wish I had extra hands during the week but don't get me started.

I've been reading this amazing book called Keeping the Faith: How Applying Spiritual Purpose to Your Work Can Lead to Extraordinary Success by Ana Mollinedo Mims. It's really good & not preachy. The author immigrated to the U.S. with her parents from Cuba when she was a young child. This and her family's experience of paving its way has opened my eyes to a lot. Take, for instance, some of the sacrifices her father made.

"I look back at my father.

I saw him put on a uniform every morning and drive a meat delivery truck: sides of beef, sometimes a whole cow. At night, he washed dishes at the pizza place down the street. He moved his way up the ranks at the meatpacking company and went from a blue-collar to a white-collar job as a salesperson in the same organization, with a company car and customers to visit. Now retired, he still works a part-time job in the meatpacking buisness, a business he's been in for almost forty years. Everybody is South Florida knows him -- restaurant owners, supermarket owners, and small bodega owners. Some of them have known him from when he was wearing a uniform with his first name on it, driving the truck and hauling beef, to when he would walk in wearing a suit and tie as a salesperson.

I remember the times that I was hitting a softball or kicking a soccer ball. My father would be in the stands, wearing a dress shirt and tie, somtimes the only father around at 5:30 pm on a work night. He rarely missed a game. It wasn't until I was in the workplace and watched so many of my male colleagues work late hours that I realized the price my father must have paid in terms of promotions and raises for leaving "on time" to watch us play sports. It wasn't until I became an adult with the similar choices that I realized the choice my father made every day and every week in favor of being there for us.

That was a large part of his legacy to me... More importantly, he showed me that once you become a parent, you must constantly make significant choices in favor of those who come behind you."

Makes me wonder why I'm still typing instead of picking up Little K early from school on a gorgeous Friday & doing something fun. Oh yeah. I'm heading to Dallas shortly so scratch that. Well, I'll make up for it. The longer I'm a parent, the more I realize my daughter will remember snuggling in her bed, building tents in the family room, and hearing me cheer for her. I don't want to give her the option of remembering Mommy working forever behind the computer. I remember my own Mom & Dad being there for me when it really mattered. And today, they are still there for me. What a profound effect that can have on a person... well into adulthood.

Until the next nap time...