Love your parents. We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old.
Last week was Mother’s Day and although I did not post anything specifically about my mom, I had the opportunity to actually video chat with her for about 30 minutes. Since that conversation, I have been thinking a lot about my family and specifically about my parents. I remembered the above quote and it has been in my head and on my heart.
One of my most memorable times was the summer of 2014, when I was back home living with my parents and little sister, surrounded by all of my immediate family. I had just finished my congressional internship in Washington, D.C. and I was working as a quality assurance engineer as I waited to come on active duty. I distinctly remember late night conversations with my dad while cleaning out the garage in which we talked about our family history, his youth in West Africa, and his early years in America. I understood in those moments just how important that time with him was; I gained a better understanding of my dad and what he has been through. The more I learn about my dad, the more I realize he is human, and the more in awe of him and his story I become.
My mom and I shared some serious, some funny, and some seriously funny conversations while cooking in the kitchen and on days she would come home from a tough day and still be down to talk. It was during these times that I learned more about my mom and her experiences when she was at university in London and trying to figure things out as a young adult. I counted myself blessed for these moments of candor in which she passed on knowledge and wisdom, some of which I would only come to appreciate in the months after I had left for Japan. Upon leaving for Japan, my mom gave me a notebook in which she had written pieces of advice and motherly wisdom for my upcoming journey. People say “mothers know” and I truly believe that my mom knew that I would need some penned words of encouragement and love to draw on during my first few months overseas.
If your parents are no longer alive, I am sorry for your loss. If you still have your parents or a parent, call them as much as possible. Never forget that while you are working on your career and focused on building your life, they are getting older. Even as I say this, I know I need to be more diligent in heeding this piece of advice. Full disclosure: I have not called them since talking to her and my younger sister last weekend. I plan on talking to them this weekend though, count on it.
-David A. Brown-Dawson, 19 May 2017