Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where I begin each week with a single piece of gratitude, which for today is for my parents, Lew and Pam.
It’s been a long time since my father and mother were alive. My father passed in 1996 and my mother in 2005 and honestly, there are days where it feels like they’ve been gone for far longer, and yet there are days where it’s hard to fathom how much time has actually gone by since their passing’s.
Nevertheless, it’s quite ironic that I am so grateful for my parents these days, given how resentful I was towards them for much of my life. Because of their alcoholism and mental health issues, I held onto the belief that I never got the childhood, or the early adulthood for that matter, that I deserved. Yet, through all the 12 Step work I’ve done I’ve been able to remove any resentments I had with them, which in turn has allowed me to see my parents in a totally different light, one that has shown me how much they truly loved me all along.
One of the biggest ways my parents showed their love for me was in teaching me good values in life such as in how to handle money. They taught me how to use a checkbook, how to save money, and how to never spend more than I had, including the notion that I shouldn’t ever place purchases on a credit card unless I could pay it off by the end of the month. And I wholeheartedly believe it’s because of this guidance that I’ve never been in debt my entire life thus far and that indeed is definitely something to be grateful for.
Some other good values they taught me that I have gratitude with was always holding the door for others, always saying thank you for the things people did for me, and always offering blessings at meal times, which brings me to an even greater thing to be grateful for when it comes to them, as I never went without food, water, or shelter during my entire upbringing. In fact, we always had quite the abundance when it came to those things. An abundance that even allowed us to frequently dine out, to go on many-a-vacation to nice places, and to experience much of the finer things in life that the world had to offer starting from a very young age.
My parents also supported my athleticism and made sure to always attend my swim meets and other sporting events to cheer me on. They supported each of my achievements in them as well, so much so that they even created a trophy wall for all my awards.
On the same level, they taught me the value of hard work and persistence can and will bring about any desired achievements sought, like it did for me in my many sporting events. Which on some level, having that hard work drive is the very reason why I’ve been able to keep this blog up after so many years, why I’ve been able to keep working on healing holistically even through all the pain I’ve faced, and why I’ve kept seeking God through faith every single day even when I’ve felt God be totally silent with me for long periods of time.
Regardless, I think the most important thing overall that I have to be grateful for when it comes to my parents is that it’s they who taught me initially about God. I used to read the Bible with my father and often witnessed the power of God through his actions. And it was my mother who became the backbone in our family that made sure we always thanked God for what we had and who taught me the importance of prayer.
Ultimately, I think it’s this very connection to God they led me to that’s helping me nowadays to remember so many things to be grateful for when it comes to them. From our Friday pizza nights, to taking long road trips, to enjoying our rest stop lunches along the way, to taking hikes into the wilderness, to day trips into New York City, to playing cards and board games on rainy days, to singing Christmas songs while playing the piano during the holidays, to having movie nights with gourmet crackers and cheeses, to making whirlpools in our swimming pool, and well I could go on and on about the many things I have found gratitude for with my parents.
I’m so thankful to have as much gratitude as I do with my parents these days and I can’t wait to see them again just to thank them for how much they did for me. In the meantime, though, I wait with gratitude, gratitude for two parents that even through all their drama were able to show their son an incredible amount of unconditional love on a daily basis.
I look forward to the day when I can give my Mom and Dad a huge hug again, but for now, I’m just glad I have many grateful memories of their unconditional love and a Higher Power they paved the way towards, who’s helping me to keep going and who’s keeping a watching eye over me until then….
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson