This I Believe

Skye - brooklyn park, Minnesota
Entered on May 11, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, gratitude

Thou Shall Honor Thy Father and Mother

I don’t know if I should have children. I’ m not sure if I could do such a good job at raising them as my parents did raising my brother, sister and me.

Growing up in Minnesota, I always felt like I should move away. There had to be a state that’s better than this, at least warmer or one with somewhat of a predictable forecast. Either way I had an undeniable feeling I had to move eventually. When it came time for college, the only thing holding me back was money. I could stay here for four more years, but I was determined to find a job that would lead me elsewhere.

While driving to a restaurant near my home with my 24-year-old brother, we held a conversation above the wind thrashing down on the soft top of the red jeep that I will never forget. On this day it was raining, though all week they had predicted it was going to be sunny and the nicest day of the week. As my brother drove, I looked out the passenger window observing the gray sky that seemed to detain hostile storm clouds with the direction of the wind. Thinking of how I hadn’t seen the sun in a week during the month of June brought up further thoughts of moving out of Minnesota. I turned to my brother, who had just graduated from college, and asked if he had plans to find a job somewhere else, if he really wanted to live here his whole life. He said no, and then added, “Mom and Dad have done so much for us, and I’m going to stick close to home so I can some day repay them.” As quickly as he answered the question, I knew he had given it some thought. I had never thought of it that way but just hearing it made my stomach drop. I felt guilty for wanting to get away from someone that had only given to me. Whether Minnesota is such a great state to live in, it is home to my family. I guess I had forgotten that.

Beyond money, children take time to raise, and even though turning 18 means you’re an adult, it doesn’t mean you become independent. I’ve run crying to my mom and dad, now, just as much as I did when I was five. And as it used to be falling off of my bike, the situations got more complicated dealing with fights between best friends and heartache from previous boyfriends. Nevertheless, my parent’s words have given me confidence and reassurance that everything will be okay. What my parents have done has not been easy. This last year, my parents celebrated my graduation from high school, my brother’s graduation from college, and my sister’s wedding, all within one month of each other. And even though my sister’s moved out, my brother’s moved back in, and I still need a ride home from college on the weekends. . My parents gave up their life, to raise three others. A romantic dinner? Make that for five.

To be a parent is the greatest altruistic act in a lifetime. I know I’m not ready for that now, but I don’t know if I will ever be. I hope to someday repay them, not necessarily with money, but with kindness; support them as they have supported me. They have given me the greatest gift of parenting me. I never thought I would live in Minnesota my whole life, but if that’s what it comes down to, I would. They have wanted nothing more than for me to succeed. I hope I can be as selfless as they are. This I believe.