When I was born, my parents didn't have a ton of money. By not having a ton, I mean they had little to none. They (as my dad says) had no intention of having children even though my mom wanted them badly. They got stuck with Carl (as some would say 'Woopsie!') so they decided to have another because he would be lonely as an only child. Surprise! You get a two-fer! I could be wrong, but I believe they got married when my mom was 19 and dad was 21 and when they did, they had their wedding at the local Methodist church and the reception in my grandma and grandpa Grupp's back yard with a handful of people and pork-chops on the grill. That isn't exactly what Tyler and I had. In fact, it is JUST the opposite. We had between 300 and 400 people and although yes, we had our wedding at the local Methodist church like my parents, our reception was held at a golf course with a catered meal and a dance that went until early morning. I know, I know. The times have changed. But even if they hadn't, I know our reception would have been just as amazing as it was because our parents wouldn't have had it any other way. They did everything in their power to make it the best memory. Why? Because they are willing to "park on a hill".
This "park on a hill" analogy goes way back to the penniless times of the Grupps. My parents knew we were strapped for cash, but they did everything they could to keep us oblivious to that fact. I remember thinking many times "we're RICH"! One of the memories of these 'rich' times was when my mom and dad were helping Becca and I celebrate our 5th or 6th (somewhere in there) birthdays. We had this AMAZING party with about 10 friends. Want to know what the theme was? "Movie Theater". They put in a movie (VHS of course), popped pop corn (air popped of course), and bought some soda and candy. There was a catch, we had to BUY all of the treats! And no, they weren't so strapped that they actually took money from us children (well in a way they did) but they gave us Monopoly money!! Yes folks, my birthday was amazing because my parents opened up a board game. It was such a treat to be able to handle money at that young age. For the first time in our lives, we were in charge. Happy birthday to us!!
Where the real "parking on a hill" story comes into play (yes I know, I am rambling) is around the same time where they had the choice to get a new car battery or they could take us to the fair that was in town. They had to choose because until next week, they only had money for one. They chose the fair. And when the guy at the gate said "please park over there, sir", my dad replied with "can I park up there on that hill? I have a bad battery and need to let it roll to start". I never knew it back then, I had no idea what they were talking about! But we went to the fair, and we had a BLAST!
|Mom with her kids and nieces (from left to right) Cousin Mariah, Becca, Cousin Amanda, me, and Carl. This might not be the fair from the picture (or maybe it is) but look at our family (minus dad who was likely behind the camera). We are so lucky.|
This post nearly brings me to tears. Maybe because it is 7:30 and I have already been up for two hours including one long trip to the grocery store. Or maybe because until my teen years, I was oblivious. Completely oblivious to what my thank-you's meant and what my parents were doing for us kids. Parenting is about understanding that every day creates a memory. All of these seemingly miniscule events really add up! I remember most every birthday. Every vacation. Every hug and kiss goodnight. Why? Because my parent's went out of their way to make every minute memorable. My parent's sacrificed so much so that we would have these memories. I can't thank them enough. Thanks, mom and dad. LOVE YOU!
That being said, would you park on a hill for your kids?
Have a wonderful weekend!