You can’t appreciate something when you only have one perspective of it.
As a child you only see your parents through one, simple perspective: Mom or Dad.
They take out the trash, wash and fold your clothes, feed you, and buy your stuff.
They’re your parents. That’s all you see.
There came I day that I saw my parents as something other than just my parents. When Amanda and I were married, I saw them as husbands and wives.
Somehow, when you step into a role, you begin to see how other people have fulfilled that role around you.
In retrospect I could see how my father had served my mother, how my mother had honored my father, how they processed arguments, and how they persisted in their commitment to each other through many different, difficult seasons.
Over the years Amanda and I have had many candid conversations about our families. After all, your family pretty much defines what you know of how to be. We’ve been very honest about what we see in our families, both strengths and weaknesses. Those conversations aren’t always easy, but they’re important. Your families are your “normal”; if you don’t understand the weaknesses in your “normal”, you might be missing opportunities to grow.
On the precipice of some pretty significant change in our lives, as we become parents, we’ve started to gain yet another perspective of our moms and dads. We wanted to take this opportunity to write this letter to them and thank them for what they so graciously sacrificed to give us:
* * * * *
To Our Mothers & Fathers,
You set the bar too high.
I think this great sense of insecurity that we feel as soon-to-be parents simply comes because you were such incredible parents to us.
Recently we’ve been reflecting on how you parented, and to be honest, we have a lot to learn from you. Through all the painful, difficult moments the following traits of your parenting always held true. These traits of your parenting stand as pretty significant markers in this new journey; they have helped define who we want to be as parents:
1. We always knew you loved us.
We knew this because you showed us. Dads, you showed us you loved us by working hard, long hours to provide for us. Moms, you showed us this by caring for us, cheering for us, and being there to confide in. You came to our games, to our recitals, and you proudly displayed our awards. While you frequently told us you loved us, it is significantly more memorable that you showed us.
2. You never stopped.
There were moments that it would have been a whole lot easier to just let go. You never did. You continued to pursue us, chase us, and parent us. Tough teenage years did not deter you, you persisted. Accidents and financial difficulties never stole your attention, you kept right on. Even as young adults, when we needed you, you were there. Thanks for persisting in your love for us.
3. You made significant sacrifices for the betterment of our families.
Both our families share a similar story line: our parents made choices when we were small children that required significant sacrifice. There were seasons in both of our childhoods that our families lived with great financial discipline. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we gained something far better than what we wanted. We learned (as we watched) about sacrifice. You taught us that sometimes in life you have to give stuff up so you can get what you are really after. You taught us to sacrifice, and we only hope that we can do so with the same resolve and discipline that you displayed in front of us.
4. You loved Jesus, and you wanted us to love Him too.
Probably the most significant gift you ever gave us was our ability to observe your devotion to Jesus. Even though Jesus worked His way into the mix differently for both of our families, there were pivotal moments in both of our lives that we saw you turn to Jesus, give Him your affection, and trust Him. In doing that, you taught us to do the same.
Our parents are:
- Kevin – Al & Rose Simmons
- Amanda – Jim & Sharon Gadd
You’ve left a significant legacy for us to carry on. We’re excited that you are the four folks that get to be our baby’s grandparents.
We love you.
-Kevin & Amanda