I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am. Like, not “find a four-leaf clover on my way to cash my million-dollar lottery prize” luck, but the luck that gets me through each day with such incredible people; the luck that got me the family that I have.
Growing up a fat, nerdy, pretty gay kid in a small town in West Virginia is not for the faint-hearted. And I definitely had some amazing friends, but I was so lucky to have the parents that I did. They loved me (and even liked me most of the time!) no matter what — mouthy teenage years, gay, bad girlfriends, car wrecks, and everything in between. I was…a handful, to say the least. Different parents would have turned their backs on me, tried to pray the gay away, tried to talk me out of dating someone. Well, maybe that last one would have been a good idea…
Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that I feel so lucky to have who I do. My thoughts always turn kind of sad this time of year, so I guess that’s what this is all about.
I am sad and happy today. Sad that my dad died. Grateful that my mom is so awesome. Sad that it’s been 12 years. Happy for the 26 that we had before that. Angry that he’s gone when it seems so unfair. Lucky that my mom has done such a good job of being two parents since then.
And looking great while doing it.
My graduation from college.
I remember the first (only?) time my dad had a Primanti’s sandwich. We were going with a work friend of his, Dave, to Italian Oven, but it had closed, so his friend suggested Primanti’s. Having gone to college downtown, I was familiar, and so was Dave. Dad said, “That’s all your going to order — just a sandwich?” Thinking that wouldn’t be enough, he also ordered a bowl of chili. Too many years have passed to remember the exact conversation that followed our food being brought out, but needless to say, he soon understood why “just a sandwich” would probably have been okay.
At Christmas every year, my family somehow ends up talking about some strange topic, often sexual. And that’s how the task of explaining what a tossed salad was to my mom. By the end of it, we were both in tears from laughter, barely able to speak. Whenever I see that item on a menu, I always think of that Christmas Eve.
If you have parents, hug them. Call them. Enjoy them. If you don’t, give yourself a minute to think about them and just feel — be happy, be sad, be grateful, be honest — let yourself feel how you feel, have a good cry and/or a good laugh, and remember something fun.
Cheers to my parents — sorry you got stuck with me, but I’m grateful that you did!