Everyone should be blessed with a family such as mine. My Mom and Dad taught me from a very young age that I could do anything I wanted, anything I put my mind to. The sky was the limit, all I had to do was work for it. That was the lesson they really taught me, hard work and tenacity put anything within reach.
My Mom passed away 11 years ago, but not before she taught me that I was as good as anyone else out there. She also taught me that life wasn’t fair, so I had to accept that only through hard work and determination would things come my way. I was my Mom’s daughter from day one. I don’t accept just any answer, I’m literal to the nth degree and I know what I want. Fortunately, I didn’t get ALL of her OCD habits, but enough to go around. My Mom was the kind of person who would sand down the white trim in the house to get to bare wood, and then paint it white again. I don’t think I’m that bad, but I have my moments. I loved her with all my heart and miss her tons, but I also know what I learned from her and take comfort in the fact that who I am today began with her.
My dad is my hero, he was the strong, silent type for many years. He is the kind of man who always supports my crazy ideas. Dad is the kind of man you can present opportunities to and he’ll give you straight advice as to whether to do it, although he never tells me what to do, he might lead me one way or another. He has always been my number one fan, at least in my eyes.
When I was a kid, Mom was the disciplinarian, but when she had reached her limit, she said “wait ‘til your father gets home.” I would hide in my room, afraid for hours, until Dad got home, and then invariably, he would come to my room, and sit quietly on my bed and ask me what happened. Through tears, I would tell him why mom was mad at me, he would pat me on the thigh and smile at me, because at this point, he knew I had been punished enough just waiting to have to explain to him. I have never wanted to disappoint him.
A few years ago, my dad brought another woman in to our lives. Pam has been his constant companion since they married four years ago. She is a kind, vivacious woman who loves to travel as much as Dad and I do (traveling is probably our most
obvious family trait.) Pam is the kind
of woman everyone relies on, the glue that holds people together. We havebeen lucky enough to travel together. A few years ago, we traveled to Zanzibar as part of an extended family trip, she and I managed to drink an entire resort out of mint, the mint flavored our favorite little rum drink. Pam has so many awesome traits that just make me smile, she is funny and caring, and the best grandma ever. I am thankful she is a part of my family now.
My sister, Tracie, and I were raised as individuals. There are enough years between us, and enough differences in our personalities that she and I were never compared. We each have had successful careers, long marriages (though both dissolved now) and wonderful children. She is the rock that I lean on when times get tough. She brings stability and love to everything she does, and I am proud to be her little sister.
Over all my years, formative and following, these are the people that have influenced me most. In all the decisions I make, it is their approval I seek most, it is what matters to me and what molds me. I love them all.