So today is Father's Day, and it got me thinking about my parents.  Since I didn't write a post on Mother's Day I figured today would be a good time to combine the two and honor both parents at once.

Really what has me thinking today is my upbringing.  I will not say I had the GREATEST PARENTS OF ALL TIME!!!  Nor will I profess a Brady-like childhood.  Honestly, I don't feel like my parents really did a whole lot of the actual raising of me.  They were there to make sure I didn't die, but when it came to the actual parenting, they were a bit lacking.  

In my very early years they were there and did a fairly decent job.  At least, of what I can remember.  I remember my mom soothing back my hair as I spilled my guts into a bucket every time I had the flu.  I remember her giving my popsicles when I was teething.  I remember my dad taking me to see The Empire Strikes back (just him and myself) for my 5th birthday because it was the ONLY thing I wanted for that birthday.  And when I was older I DO remember my dad showing up, sober, for high-school drama plays and choral concerts.  At least, the ones I told him about.

But somewhere in there, I'm not sure when it happened, my mom found drugs and my father found liquor.  And then the hard ships began and my parents fell off their pedestals.

But here's the thing...for all the shit that they put me through, both directly and indirectly, I would not change a thing.  Not.  One.  Fucking.  Thing.  

You know how you sometimes sit around and talk with your friends or whoever and that question comes up, "If you could go back and do it over, and make changes, would you?"  My answer is always a resounding, NO.  See, if I were to do that, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  And I rather like me.  Without all the crap, I would have never learned the tools to take on the things that occur out in "the real world" and make it through.

Today I am a very independent, opinionated, intelligent, strong person.  (Ok, feeling a little less intelligent every time I need to use that spell-check, but hey, I said intelligent, not perfect.)  

When I was in high-school my friend Brian said a single sentence to me that has stuck with me to this day.  "You are the strongest person I know."  I don't know if that is still true to this day.  I highly doubt it.  But, at the time, it was a truth.  Also, at the time, I thought he was absolutely nuts.  I didn't believe it.  I mean, me?  Really?  How the hell was I so strong?  We were talking about a girl who, at the best of times, thought she was losing her mind (my panic-attacks had yet to be diagnosed), would go through horrific boughts of depression, would cry at the drop of a dime and ran from every thing she didn't like.  How was I all that strong?

It took years and perspective to realize that Brian was right.  I am strong.  Over the years I would tell ppl about various things that had happened in my life and was more often than not given a response of, "How are you still here?  I would not have been able to handle that.  I would have probably killed myself by now."  The truth is, suicide wasn't just not an option, it had never even occurred to me.   I mean, I had (and still have) a curiosity about death and what happens when we die, but never to the extent of wanting to find out.  Actually, dying is one of my biggest phobias.

It took me a while to figure out that I was able to get through it all because of my childhood.  Because of the things I had been through.  Because of the personality traits I learned from my parents.  Because of the stick-to-your-guns, stand up for yourself, take no shit way I learned from my mom.  Because of the cool, calculated, pick your battles way that I learned from my dad.  Because of having to see first hand what happens when you make wrong choices, they taught me how to make right ones.  They taught me how to deal with my problems and that there is always something worse.  (I know that last sentance sounds bad, but really it's not.)

Because of that, NO, I would not change it for the world.  I would do it all over again.  If I did, my mom and dad would never have taken me to the hospital.  That act alone resulted in doctors diagnosing my closed-head-injury, clinical depression and the resulting panic attacks.  I would never have known the joy of bowling (before the drugs, my mom was a semi-pro bowler).  Without my dad I would never know how annoying, and funny, a tiny music box outside your bedroom door can be.  Without them both I wouldn't know how to enjoy the little things in life.

So to both of my parents, on this Father's Day, I say thank you.  Thank you for turning me into the person I am.  Thank you for the good, the bad and the in-between.  Thank you for it all.

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