Friday, November 14, 2008

We owe a lot to our parents

On Mother's Day and Father's Day, we send our parents cards and flowers and gifts. We tell them we appreciate them, we tell them we love them. Then we spend the rest of the year trying to avoid them. Well, some of us try harder than others.

According to two recent polls, 36% of elderly parents say their grown children have failed to help them in a time of need in the past five years. And that doesn't even include all those parents who can't remember. Perhaps poor memory is a good thing. If I'm ever an aging parent, I want
to remember my children as the most loving and caring people. And if they're not, I want to forget.

But the only thing I'll probably forget is to put them in my will. Let's face it: Parents can be a pain at times. They expect so much out of you. Do this, do that, eat this, eat that, marry this, marry that. There's no satisfying them.

But you have to overlook your entire childhood to turn your back on your parents. There are so many reasons to be grateful to them. Here are just a few:

---They didn't abort you.
Yes, some of them easily could have, but they chose to accept at least 18 years of responsibility. Sure, you brought them lots of joy, but you also brought them lots of migraines. Thanks to you, they had to invest more money in aspirin than in the stock market.

---They changed your diaper about 2,750 times.
You may have many talents today, but for the first years of your life, your only talent was soiling a diaper. Soon after that, you developed another talent: wetting the bed. You were so good at that, they thought you'd do it for the rest of your life.

---They forced you to do your homework.
You preferred to watch cartoons on television, but they knew you couldn't make a career out of that. Unless you ended up on welfare. They encouraged you to earn good grades and graduate from school. They didn't want you to sell drugs for a living, without going to pharmacy school.

---They lost so much sleep worrying about you, they haven't yet caught up.
That's why they have to go to bed at 7 p.m. They'd have to sleep continuously for five years to make up for your puberty alone.

---They spent a small fortune on you.
Without you, they could have vacationed every year in the Bahamas and bought a sports car-instead of that totally uncool station wagon. And they could have bought lots of fancy appliances and furniture, items that are guaranteed to never talk back or ask for allowances.

---They were so proud of you.
Why do you think they took one billion photos of you? You weren't that cute. They even snapped shots of you taking a bath, as though that was some big achievement. When you took your first step, they acted like you had walked on the moon. They wanted to tell everybody, even the mail carrier. When you spoke your first word, they wanted to put an announcement in the newspaper. They wanted to call CNN. Consider yourself lucky if you have two parents or even just one. You can't replace a parent. You can't go to the store and buy one, even if you're as loaded as Bill Gates.

Parents aren't perfect, but chances are, no one will ever love you the same way. Especially if you act the way you did.

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