I spent this past weekend celebrating my grandfather’s 94th birthday and Father’s Day with my dad. While it was exhausting and trying on my patience at times, I have to say that I have been blessed in my life.
My parents have set an amazing example for me both personally and professionally. I have established myself professionally due to the work ethic my parents taught me. I grew up watching my dad balance a demanding career in the university world with the demands of a family that was active in many things over the years. I learned the joy of hosting parties in my home from my mom, who is an Southern charm exemplified. She always made people — family, friends or strangers — feel welcome in our home. Between the two of them, I hope that I have lived up to their expectations in my adulthood.
My grandfather is my last remaining grandparent alive. At 94 years old, he is a spry, opinionated man who is both flirtatious and moody. While I find his repetitive stories to be a bit much at times, I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to listen to his memories about life in the early 20th century. I watched him care for my ailing grandmother for the last 10 years of her life and admire his courage as they battled the effects of Alzheimer’s on her mind and body. He never once stopped loving her. Now, as he remembers their early years of marriage, I hope that I can be such an example for any future children after 60 plus years of marriage.
I know that over the years I have not always shown my family the appreciation or love that they deserve. But I can tell you that, in my adulthood, I have seen the core values and experiences that I was given over the years to be truly amazing, beneficial and more meaningful than I ever expected.