When I read the topic for the month--Blessing our Parents--I have to admit, I was a little stumped. Distance often makes it difficult for me to feel like I am giving a blessing to my wonderful dad and his incredible wife. (Blessing my mother before her death was even more difficult but for other reasons entirely!)
But I do think that it is a fair question. How can we bless our parents in our marriage?
I know how to bless them with my children, their grandchildren. I foster a relationship even across the distance. I give them updates. I tell my children stories of their grandparents. We draw cards and pictures and mail them across the sea. We celebrate the times we are together. Blessing the grandparent is easy.
But blessing the parent?
I am fortunate that I have a Dad who has always been honest with me and my brother about marriage. He never pretended that it was easy. And, we saw him strive to do what was best for the family. The time came when there was little more that he could do and my parents marriage eventually ended. But even in that time he was honest in his part of the blame and in allowing us kids to become our own persons separate from the marriage breakdown (I was 22 and my brother was 21). I get the feeling that my step-mom lived her first married life in front of her kids much the same way. She acknowledged that marriage was hard, and did the best she could. And now, they have a remarkable marriage together! In fact, this week they celebrate their fourth anniversary.
I think that one way I bless them is that I have an honest marriage. By honest I mean one that has ups and downs (thankfully more ups than downs), that perseveres and that acknowledges the effort marriage requires. That kind of marriage honours them because it is the kind of marriage that they have! As children, we try to take the best of what we saw in marriage and incorporate that into our own. I believe, in some small way that blesses our parents--when they see us move forward with the building blocks they have given us.
German and I were discussing last night some of the "best" we have taken from our parents marriages--for him the love to travel and spend time as a family and of taking care of one's own family, for me the importance of tithing, family vacations and extended family relationships. We laughed about the fact that we don't do any of those things exactly like our parents--but we have taken the principles taught and made them our own in a way that works for us. In some small way, that is honouring the ones who went before us and taught us. (at least we hope it is)
Today, however, I want to indulge a little further in an attempt to bless my step-mom. Step-mothers get a bad rap in our culture and I find it so opposite my experience. Dix is the absolute best! When Mom died in February, I never once felt that I had to keep at bay the emotions. She made it clear that her home was our home. When family sat around the table and told stories of the past she stayed and was part of it. When my Dad needed time to grieve his first wife, she gave it. When my kids needed a place to be that was away from the emotion, she happily took off work and kept them. Dix made it possible to get through that week (and the following trip of cleaning out memories) without guilt and struggle. Graciousness exudes from her, and it made those weeks easier. So I just want to take a moment to very publically say THANK YOU! Thank you for accepting this motley crew as your own and thank you for the refuge your home provides and thank you for loving my Dad.
Ultimately, isn't that the way we bless anyone? Just to love them, and let them love us in return.
Happy Anniversary Dad and Dix!!!
(and I can't wait to see you..just a few more weeks)