Recently, while cleaning out some boxes in the basement to prepare for our family's move to a new home, I came across a box of decades-old letters and cards — mostly unimportant junk that was long overdue for the rubbish bin. But among the debris, I found two identical cards. Gems, really: One was from Mom, and one was from Dad. Each was given to me on separate occasions.
On the front of each the card is a print of what I now lovingly call "my marching orders." My parents, while not lecturing me in person, where telling me exactly what I needed to do:
Believe in Yourself:
Cherish your creations
Take pride in you
Recognize inner beauty
Draw on inner strength
Look inside your soul
Embark on adventure
Launch new ideas
Expect the best
Be the best
Inside the card from Dad was a note hastily scrawled in his messy hand: "I hope this helps a little. Love, Dad". The note from Mom was also terse: "Hang 'tuff." You can do it. Love, Mom".
But between the words and lines, I realize, was the real and unwritten message that my parents wanted to convey: "We love you, We support you. We're here for you. Keep your chin up. You're bigger than the problem you're facing. So, trust, us — you'll get your ass through this."
Thanks Mom and Dad. I love you, too.
I was listening. Really. I have my marching orders. And I try to carry them out every day. And I'll be sure to tell my kids the same thing — in a way that will get through to them when it seems that I can not.