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One of the things I look most forward to when visiting my parents is sitting out on the back porch, drinking coffee, chatting about anything and everything that comes to mind.  Mom and Dad bought this house when I was still in high-school and have lived here ever since, over 40 years now.  Through the years they have added to the house and cultivated the yard to create a wonderful, peaceful retreat.  I don’t get home often enough, but on this mini-vacation, as I sit here with my parents, I feel overwhelming gratitude for our time spent together.  We watch the sun rise, listen to the sound of the waterfall in the coi pond, watch the multitude of birds fly to and from the feeders, talk about the mundane as well as the profound, and in general just enjoy each other’s company.  These times are too few anymore, and precious when we get them.  This morning as the sun is rising in the sky, and I’m nursing my second cup of coffee, I am eternally grateful for this early morning ritual with Mom and Dad on their back porch.

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This weekend is my parents’ annual camping trip with my kids!  I wanted so much to join them but was unable to make it.  Thinking about the whole kit-n-kaboodle of them camping together in some idyllic spot brought back so many memories of my family camping trips, and other family outings, too.  More than the clothes, toys, houses, cars, etc., it is those things we do together–sitting together around the campfire or at the dinner table, hiking through the woods or strolling through the neighborhood to admire folks’ gardens and landscaping, telling ghost stories in the tent late at night or reading bedtime stories together when tucked safely in bed for the night.  These are the things that create memories.  This is the glue that seals our devotion to each other. The “remember whens” of life add the color, the warmth, the texture to our life’s pallette.  Family outings; i remember them with affectionate warmth.  And, not to forget, Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there, especially my dad and my son–both Dads extraordinaire!  I am grateful for family outings. . . and for dads everywhere!

What can one say about parents?  Through the years my parents have been kind and generous.  They have also been mean and “self-centered.”  They have been wise and understanding.  I remember some foolish times, and instances where they “just don’t understand,” too.  They have been fun and entertaining, AND boring and “an embarrassment.”  Parents!  Through the years they have been sooooo many things to me and my siblings.  Through all the stages of our growth and development however, Mom and Dad were the constants in our lives.  Their love and stability carried my brothers and me through some rough times. No matter what was going on, Mom and Dad were always rooting for us, and their’s is the home we call our own.  Mom and Dad loved us unconditionally, regardless of how we felt about them. (Adolescence was the worst!  Thankfully we all survived.) Now that I have reached the status of “senior citizen” by some folks’ definition (a title I am glad to use when it means a discount on tickets or whatever) and have raised my own children, Mom, Dad and I have grown to the point of a special friendship and bond that only parents and children can have. . .if they are lucky.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones!  G-d willing, Mom and Dad will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in November.  I am immensely grateful for my parents.

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