Never Too Late For Thanks

Last night I learned that my Uncle Charlie, my dad's older brother, passed away after suffering from ALS. ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, seriously messes with a person's neurological pathways, and is what ended Lou Gehrig's baseball career, and eventually killed him. I have had no contact with my uncle for well over 18 years, ever since before my mom, dad, and I moved from Philadelphia to Washington State, and therefore I have no real idea of how badly he, or his immediate family, suffered because of it.

Recently, Facebook provided me the opportunity to reconnect with some extended family members I had otherwise lost touch with. I tried to find my cousin, "little" Charlie, Uncle Charlie's son. He was just two years older than me. I actually found his profile less than a year ago, only to find out from my aunt that he had just passed away, in his mid-thirties.

Death of a family member, even one whom you have no recent connection weird. I hope this doesn't sound disrespectful, but my mind automatically switches to those I am close to and those elements of my life that I am grateful for, probably due to that realization that life is constantly shifting and I don't want to ever feel as though I don't appreciate some aspect of my life.

At this moment I feel extremely fortunate, and since I spent Thanksgiving weekend moving into our new home, I am going to spend a little time giving some thanks...

My parents are some pretty exceptional people. In teaching you have an, at times uncomfortable, insight into the lives of your students, and it isn't always good. More often than not, I am questioned by acquaintances about my own desire to have a child, and often times a simple, "I see enough of them in my day," or some other sarcastic response, is enough to justify what I consider to be a very personal choice, and not one that is up for debate.

I'm not against having children. I'm simply at an age where I figure that it will work itself out if Tyler and I decide we are ready to go that route. I don't worry that I will be a bad parent. My parents taught me how to be good. I don't worry that I won't know what to do. I have plenty of people to help me. If I have concerns at all, they stem from beyond. Philosophical, "why are we here" type of shit forces me to question my role, and therefore my "child's" role (existence).

I don't expect or need people to understand what I'm talking about, but I do expect people who breed to think about a couple things. I would like parents-to-be to think about the seriousness of child raising, not just birthing a child, but what nurturing, and caring for, and providing truly means. I wished people asked themselves, "Am I able to do whatever I have to do to take care of my child?"

Because a child inevitably, at least in those early school-age years, are a mini mold of their parents. And it is absolutely heartbreaking to work with students whose parents so obviously don't care about them, who instead must view child raising as a chore.

My parents didn't do that. My parents didn't have a lot of money to raise us, but money does not equal love or substitute for good parenting. I'm completely thankful for the life my parents provided me. I have never once, even as an adult, felt that they don't care about me, or don't have time for me, or had any sense that they ever regretted their life as parents to my brother and me. The part that kills me about some of the students I have had, is I know they can't say the same. So for this, I am beyond thankful.

I am also thankful for my roommate, and soon to be husband. I probably met Tyler five years ago, but didn't actually get to know him until two and a half years ago. The time I spend with him is exactly what I previously wanted. In my mind I picture our relationship like a well practiced synchro duet. The little things like cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping...they are just little maneuvers we perform together. We are different enough to have our own interests and yet similar enough that we are not constantly butting heads about stupid stuff. I absolutely enjoy our time together and am pretty smitten with him.

I am thankful for so very much.

Take care Uncle Charlie, and "little" Charlie, and Aunt Charlotte, and Grandmom, and Grandpop...I imagine you're all having quite the shindig up there.


  1. This made me think about a recent family member that has contacted me through Facebook. She is my dad's half brother's child. My dad never spoke of his other family by his father. He completely resented his father after he left my grandma. I think I may have met my grandfather when I was 4 but that was it. Recently Andrea has friended me and my siblings and I have been able to contact her dad, my uncle and his brother, my other uncle. They have sent pictures of my grandfather and filled me in about him since my dad never talked about him. I have been thankful for this opportunity to get to know this side of my family.

    Sheri Roe


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