Repaying the Unrepayable

Catherine - Elk Grove, California
Entered on May 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Unlike most majors at Cal Poly, Art & Design is not one that promises economic security or a job offer right after graduation. But this is the unpredictable path I have chosen to pursue and when some parents might have discouraged such an unstable career, mine have not only approved of my decision, they have nurtured and supported my passion beyond belief. Most of all, my mother and father have given me the opportunity and freedom to achieve absolutely anything I wish. For this, I am truly indebted to them forever. As my parents grow older, and will someday require more and more assistance, I believe in taking care of them, even if it means putting aside my own ambitions and goals.

My most valuable possession in the world, one that can never be stolen, broken or taken, is my education. I could not have asked for a greater gift from my parents than to put aside savings every month, even before I was born, for my college education. Instead of buying a time-share or numerous extravagant dinners, they both decided to invest that money into my future. Recently I was given to opportunity to further my education by participating in the Cal Poly Peru study aboard program. The choice financially was to either send me on a life changing educational trip or to use that money to celebrate my dad’s thirty-year retirement from teaching by taking a vacation to Maui. Without a second thought they decided to invest in my education even more, by sponsoring my journey to a distant county. Because of their unselfish character, I will gain personal experience with a lifestyle and culture that has existed in equilibrium with the earth for millennia. Choosing not to take their vacation is just one of many sacrifices my parent have taken with the purpose of putting my education on the top of their priority list.

Just as parents make sacrifices for their children, a time will come when the roles reverse and the child will sacrifice for the parent. I have seen the care my mother gives my eighty-nine year old grandmother every day and how difficult it is to balance time in our busy lives, let lone caring for an aging parent. This was especially challenging when my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer a few years ago, which required major surgery and weeks of recuperation. Through the many hospital visits and recovery process at home, my mother was there for her mother every day. Even at the most stressful time at work, her top priority was to take care of my grandma. My mother says the stress and time was nothing compared to the joyful feeling of seeing my grandmother healthy on Christmas day sitting with her grandchildren, beaming with happiness.

There is no doubt that sacrifices must be made in order to care for our parents as they grow old. We must ask ourselves what sacrifices our mothers and fathers chose to make in order to give us the best life possible. My parents put many of their ambitions aside so that I could be the number one priority in their life. Taking care of my parents in the future is not an obligation; it is a way to give back the same love and affection that they have given me throughout the nineteen years of my life. Caring for my parents in their future time of need pales in comparison to all the precious gifts they have bestowed upon me.