Honoring My Parents

I would like to say that I’m a good Christian.  I’m not.  I’m a pretty skilled sinner, unfortunately.  I’m also good at asking for forgiveness and thinking that I’ve repented.  And then I mess up again.

But one thing that I always want to do well is honoring my parents.  And I don’t do it because it’s one of the Ten Commandments.  If you talk to my brother, when I was a teenager, I was horrible about honoring my parents.

Fortunately, that was thirty years ago and I’ve grown up just a little since then.  And now that I’m in my forties and feeling like maybe I’m just a little smarter, I also thought that maybe I could finally be a bit of a better daughter.

Three years ago, I bought my parents an iPod Touch 4th Generation.  And my mom freaked out when she received it.  She hates it when I spend my money on her because she knows that I don’t always have a ton of money. But Mom also complained all the time that she wasn’t able to see my children and when I realized that the iPod would allow her to video chat with my children which would remove her ability to complain that she doesn’t get to see the children….well…problem solved.

Wow, you should have seen her reaction when she opened the gift.  You would have thought I had originally given her a nest of highly toxic scorpions.  And then, she realized that the scorpions weren’t going to bite or sting.  And then she realized that the scorpions were just a computer the size of a deck of cards.

And then she named it Chirpy because she used the cricket chirps as her notification tone that she was receiving a FaceTime request from me.  Life was good.  She bought a manual, learned how to use the iPod.

Dad still doesn’t know how to operate it.  He can answer the FaceTime requests.  But he will sometimes hit the mute button or the camera switch button and then he’s kind of like a kid in a candy store, paralyzed and unable to move but absolutely enamored with what he is looking at.  It’s kind of funny.

Well, Mom and Dad’s iPod Touch is a 4th generation and is a bit old.  It doesn’t always receive messages when I send them.  It doesn’t always receive my FaceTime notifications.  Mom was convinced it was because I was using my school email address as my Apple ID.  I told her that they were not connected.

But I earned a little extra money recently and thought it would be nice to get my parents a new iPod Touch 6th Generation.  Hey, their old iPod hasn’t updated in over a year.  Why not?  Right?

So the kids and I went ahead and picked up the iPod.  And since I’m hanging out with Mom and Dad right now…I figured, why not?  Give them the new toy?  They’ll freak out that I spent some money on them but then they’ll understand that the purpose of the gift is to make it easier for them to contact the kids and me.

The Ten Commandments are all about doing what is right.  About doing what is good for the community and for one another.  And I never really thought about why it is important to “honor thy father and thy mother.”

I mean, when I was a kid, they were so annoying.  So the idea of even thinking about honoring them was the furthest thing from my mind.  But I couldn’t stop loving my parents no matter how annoying (and embarrassing) they could possibly be.

But, you know, in the end, I think that maybe I could use a little less arrogance and a little more humility and see how little the world actually orbits my pathetic self.  And yet, my mom does everything she can to guarantee my comfort.  Not just my safety.  Not just my well-being.  My comfort.  My happiness.

I haven’t lived with my parents for over twenty years.  And yet they still do everything they can to give me the best possible life.  When I didn’t really have the money for both of my children to be in the same child care center, my parents gave me the difference.  When I was worried about finding the money for a root canal, my parents paid for it.

My parents have paid for plane tickets to Germany.

Plane tickets to Florida.

Hotel stays on my way to Florida so that I wouldn’t have to drive overnight.

Food.

Clothing.

Necessities.

Wants.

They give without thinking and then they give some more.

And so, I want to give back.  Because an iPod Touch really is a paltry return on all of their generosity.

They helped pay for my college years.

They paid for my wedding.

I just want to give them something to show them how much I love them.

When they received the iPod, they kind of freaked, just as I expected.  Because their daughter had given them yet another gift.  And as a mother, I understand what it’s like to receive something that my son or daughter paid for out of their meager allowance.  I want my children to save their money for themselves and to learn the value of economy.  I want my children to know the value of money and to be able to care for themselves financially and to be financially independent.

At the same time, though, I understand what it is to be the child in the relationship and take money that I have earned and use it to buy something of value and worth and give it to my parents as a sign of love and appreciation.

I really just want to take my parents and shake them, wake them out of their stupor that they are always supposed to be the ones who provide for me.  Because I want to show them how much I love them and how much I am always going to love them.

Let’s face it…they are close to seventy.  I know that their time on Earth is much more limited than mine.  At least, realistically, I know that their time on Earth is much more limited.  And I want them to know, daily, hourly, that I love them.  And if this is through a computer that is about the size of a thin deck of cards, then I’m going to do this.

Mom and Dad do understand that I love them and that I am giving them gifts not out of obligation but out of love and respect and honor.  And I am grateful that they understand and see that.  Now, if I can just teach them to say, “Thank you” and leave it at that as opposed to saying that they need to return the gift immediately and give me back my money.

Because I won’t take it.  I really won’t.  I would rather burn the money than put it back in my pocket.

Because I love my parents.  And they know that I love them.  And I know that they know that I love them.  And that’s good.

But now, when we video chat, the picture will be just a little clearer.  And that’s good too.

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