After a month keeping my new blog, Project Happy, and an honest attempt at cultivating gratitude and positivity in my thoughts and inner life, all I can say is this: WOW. (And also all of the following words.)
I have made more progress in this one month than I have perhaps made in all of the years I have been working on myself.
First and foremost, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my parents. It’s as if all the years of complaints and perceived hurts have been washed away, and all that is left are the many bits of my very beautiful life: a life that was given to me by my parents.
I came into the world through them, wanted and loved. I have been fed, clothed, sheltered and protected by them in all the years I could not do it myself, and then some. They have worked at their jobs to care for my sisters and me, balanced marriage and family and finances and careers, all so that we could have a wonderful life. And they have done this mostly in a country that was foreign to them, without family or much of a support system. They have done it mostly on their own.
My mom made us homemade yogurt and bread amongst multitudes of other homemade goodies, kept our house neat and tidy, provided us with good, clean clothes, took us from place to place, cared for us when we were sick, tucked us into bed at night and sang us a Finnish lullaby each night. She came from a poor family that had very little, and she wanted to give us everything so that we did not have to struggle as she had. She worked hard as a nurse, and always managed to care for us even on little sleep or when she was sick. The best thing in the whole world was when she would let us sleep in her bed when dad was out of town. I would fall asleep with her soft, smooth hand in mine. She was sweet and tender–the best. She was and still is the most beautiful mom.
My dad traveled a lot, designing gigantic machinery in factories all over the world. He is a genius, and one of the hardest-working and smartest people I have ever known. He came from a poor family and worked his way out of poverty, and his resilience amazes me. He told us jokes, made us laugh and took us ice skating, built us sledding hills and snow forts, lit fireworks on New Years Eve and took us on tractor rides. He was reliable and strong, and made me feel safe and cared for.
My parents paid for my college education, which because of my slowness and difficulty with decision-making, took me a decade to complete. They were patient and supportive. They did this out of love and out of a desire to give me something they never had.
I was a complex child (still am), and in many ways, a difficult one. I was sensitive and needy but did not know how to express my needs. I probably left my parents clueless much of the time, as well as frustrated and bewildered. I feel badly about that, but we can only live and learn and get better with time, right?
Thank you, Mom and Dad. I love you.