Three things my parents did right

October 10, 2007 | 4 comments

Just in time, here is my entry for the group writing project!

Three things my parents did right:

1. The gave me life
My parents never intended to have children. They both decided after they got married that that wasn’t something they wanted or needed to be fulfilled. For the first 10 years of their marriage they had an exciting life of spontaneous travel to cool places, socializing with friends, and interesting careers. They’d settled happily into their child-free life and had no room for kids with all that they had going on. Needless to say, I was a big surprise. The pregnancy wasn’t their “fault” since they’d been using a reliable form of contraception, and they weren’t opposed to the concept of abortion. Yet they chose to have me. Even though it meant turning their lives upside down, they decided to open their hearts to this new little life.

2. My mom never complained about motherhood
Before my surprise arrival, my mom had an interesting career and the sky was the limit in terms of where should could have gone. She has a degree in math and is brilliant with numbers, having jobs like working with classified information as a mathematician for the Naval Research Laboratory. Yet when I was born, she left her career to stay home with me. Even when she returned to work when I was older, she chose jobs that weren’t too demanding and left her plenty of time to be available for me. And I’ve never once heard her complain about it. I’ve never seen her roll her eyes at memories of my toddlerhood, make “jokes” about how I drove her crazy, or say a word about what she gave up when she became a full-time mom. It would be understandable if she had — after all, being a mom is hard work, and she never exactly signed up for it. But, as far as I know, she loved (and still loves) every part of her life as my mother.

3. They instilled in me a sense of wonder
I think my dad could gaze at the stars for hours and hours on end and never tire of it. He’s like a kid when he talks about astronomy and the grandeur of the universe. When I was a child my bedtime reading was books like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. My dad would show me the pictures and read some passages, then pause to explain what it meant. He’d get my mind going by talking things like how a black hole’s gravity is so strong that even light can’t escape, and we’d sit and ponder what it would be like at the center of a black hole. To this day he frequently emails me pictures of nebulae or reminders to get up at 5:00am so I don’t miss the latest meteor shower, often including a note about how wondrous it all is. Ironically since he’s an atheist, it was this very sense of awe and wonder that led me to God.


  1. Courageous Grace

    What a lovely post, Jennifer! It’s often refreshing to realize how even though our parents are different from us, there are always things that they did right to raise us.

    As a side note, I found out a couple of hours ago that my mother was rushed to the emergency room this morning from either a mini-stroke or Bells Palsy from a viral infection she’s had all week. Please keep her in your prayers.

  2. Abigail

    I’m really inspired about the example that your mother sent. Need to be a little better about not rolling my eyes about my son’s toddler antics. Thanks for hosting a great writing event.

  3. Sarahndipity

    This is so sweet. I was raised Catholic but your parents remind me a little bit of mine. My mom has a master’s degree in biology and my dad is a huge computer geek. I had to smile at the Carl Sagan thing – that’s the kind of thing they would have read to me. I definitely remember my dad talking about black holes.

    My mom was also a stay-at-home mom. She gave up a career as a botanist to stay home with my brother and I. To this day she occasionally reminds me what a cranky baby I was (as opposed to my brother, who was the easy baby), but she has never complained about what she gave up to stay home with us.

    Despite all the science in our house, I still insisted on being an arts and literature person. Go figure. 🙂 Although they also had about 3,000 books in their house, so maybe that’s what inspired me to be an English major.

  4. Brisbane bookkeeping

    Usually I don’t bother responding to a blog article or making any comments, but in this instance I felt the need to say ‘well done’!

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