Growing up, I always had what I needed, not always what I “wanted” or at least that is what I thought. This was a hard concept to understand, as a child, especially when everyone was (and is) trying to keep up with the Jones’s. So how can we give our children what they “need” and what they “want”?
The one special thing that every child needs and wants is…LOVE.
Everything my parents did, it was because the LOVED my brother and I unconditionally. They would tell us ” We want you to have a better life then we had” and “Never forget where you came from.”
Growing up, I was raised in a strong blue collar environment. My grandfathers’ were hard-working men. One worked deep underground as a coal miner and the other retired after 40 years working for the local natural gas company. Hard work was a trait that was passed down to both of my parents. My mother has worked in the same career since she was 18. My father is no different, I can still smell the “metallic” aroma on his clothes after a long day of welding, just like it was yesterday.
My parents never had the opportunity to further their education past high school. They married young and worked hard to make a living. They worked hard to raise my brother and I. They worked hard for everything they have and never asked for a hand out from anyone.
My parents’ devoted everything they had to my older brother and I. They drove hours to see me play in my football games. They helped with fund raisers to send us to France when we were in high-school (talk about a field-trip!) They would help put in the extra money that I needed, after counting all of my Birthday Money, so that I could purchase of the newest pair of “Air Jordan’s”. They put money away to help us further our education by giving us the gift of sending us to college.
During my college years, I started to look back on everything that was given to me by my parents. My dad would give me an extra $20 on the weekends to take my special girl, who is now my beautiful wife, to the movies. I was one of the few kids that had their own car in high school and college (yeah… it was a hand-me-down older gold car, with the headliner stapled to the top and a boom-box in the trunk as my radio… but it got me where I needed to go and I was proud to have it). My parents were there when I needed to talk to them, no matter what hour of the day or night it was.
I never forgot where I came from and I am pretty sure it is going to be hard to give my children more than what my parents gave me and my brother growing up, but we are going to try. I will follow in their footsteps to give our children what they need and what they want- LOVE.
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