I don’t know why as a greater society, we limit being immensely thankful to not only one day, but to the month of November. In fact, I don’t think Thanksgiving exists due to the hype of commercialized Christmas. Regardless, I have plenty to be thankful for, but I tend to only reflect during the Thanksgiving season. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I offer you a post. A post about two people.
I’m the oldest of two children, and was born seven years after my parents were married. However, after those seven years my parents were still kids, my mother being 22 and my dad being 25, respectively. I used to think that 22 would be a good age to reproduce, but as I near closer to that age, the more I question my ability to take care of myself, much less another person. Regardless, my parents had me in early 1990 and five years later in 1995, my kid brother was born. I believe that this is where my story begins, but mostly because from ages 0-4, life is a blur with momentary patches of happiness that I can recall. This is when I believe I began to identify my parents as radicals before being a radical was cool (or bad, however you want to view it).
My parents were and are still no-nonsense people. Crap never has time to hit the fan at our house because my parents simply do not tolerate it, and it has always been this way. For this, I am thankful. Did I always want to go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night? Absolutely not. Did I want to follow the tobacco setter, plant beans, or bring in wood during my time at home? No. And did I like being and four years old while being taken to all of those museums on vacation? Not really, but I liked it more than planting beans. In short, my parents made my brother and I do a lot of things that I didn’t want to do, such as go to church, work outside occasionally, and go to Civil War museums. Because my parents weren’t too terribly concerned with whether or not they were liked by my brother and I, they weren’t afraid to force us to do things that were good for us. Yes, at the time my brother and I were certain we were in misery, but now, as I reflect we were both better off for their decisions. As a result, we have grown into well-behaved, non trouble-making young adults with the ability to make our own informed decisions. For my parents making me do things that I didn’t want to do, I am thankful. I’m a better person because of it.
In addition to having my best interests at hand, my parents are also highly concerned regarding social issues. Before the idea of social justice and was hijacked by political overtones, my parents were already loving their neighbors and more. On multiple occasions, I remember my dad shoveling snow out of old laides’ driveways without being asked and my mom cooking meals for those who were sick. Between all of the visitors that have sat at our dinner table or those who have reached out to my parents for help, there has been a multitude that my parents have blessed. They care about others, feed the hungry, support the poor, and are active in changing the worlds in which they operate. No, you may not see my parents at a political march or see candidate signs in their yard come election time, but my parents are activists. Activists of a different, quieter sort, but activists indeed.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my parents. I should display my thankfulness more than once a year, but today, I have an excuse to do so. My parents are indeed radical individuals concerned for the needs of their children and those around them. In a world of self-obsession and loneliness, my parents act as individuals that others can trust and depend upon in times of need. No, my parents aren’t loud, protest oriented radicals, but they are radicals in the sense that they put others before themselves, time after time.