Reading this, you might think I had some of the worst parents on the face of the planet. It wasn't all bad.
My parents encouraged us to follow our dreams, but be practical about it. Aim for the stars, but make sure you have a fall back plan, just in case.We were all heavily encouraged into STEM fields, but weren't denied dreams to write, paint, or whatever called our hearts.
I have distinct happy memories with each parent and both together. Six Flags with Mom, Norma's Cafe during Saturday errand with Dad, the occasional evening watching movies as a family.
We were well provided for, in terms of physical needs. Money was tight, but everyone got enough to eat. Yes, we ate a lot of ramen, ground meat, and cereal, but Mom and Dad made sure we got fruits and veggies and the occasional treat.
Mom and Dad did what they could to support our dreams as kids. Realistically, we all knew my sister wouldn't get a pony and that none of us would get a car as a sweet 16 gift. I did get plenty of meteorology and water books, my middle sister got art supplies, my youngest sister got plenty of Hot Wheels. Little things that didn't cost a lot but meant "I believe in you."
They were there for our achievements. One or both came to every award show or graduation, and they proudly displayed ribbons, trophies, and team photos on a cork board and shelf.
They did what they could to broaden our horizons. We went on family road trips. Mom took us kids storm chasing when I wanted to be a storm chaser (from a relatively safe distance, we never saw any dangerous action). We were in every free or inexpensive program we showed the least interest in. When I was in UIL academic, my father got up before the ass-crack of dawn to drop me off on Saturdays for meets.
We were raised to be kind, courteous, polite, and well- mannered, no matter what our state of mind. While their methods left scars, they worked to instill those values.
We were raised with an open mind, a sense of humor, and the ability to see past a person's exterior. Those values have saved my ass many a time.
The scars I have also instilled drive, humility, and a fierce sense of independence. That independence from a young age instilled in me a confidence in my ability to do anything.