Mondays are hard. To help me get through them, I am starting a weekly themed post called Affirmation Mondays. I think affirmations are always a good thing. And I have a problem telling those closest to me how much they mean to me. So, Mondays are now all about affirmations. It only makes sense to start with the two people who brought me into this world – Tom and Lisa Allen. My parents.
Thomas Edwin Allen grew up in southeast Kansas. Lisa Gay McDaniel grew up in south-central Missouri. They met in forestry school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This post could be summarized by saying they are a big part of the person I am today and they continually show me support and love no matter how long it takes me to “grow up” and despite my continuous shenanigans. But, summarizing would not do them (or this post) justice. This is Affirmation Monday! I can see their influence in my life in a few distinct ways.
1) When I was a child (birth to let’s say 12ish). Tom and Lisa read to me. And had me read to them. They taught me the value of reading and knowledge from the beginning. They also took me outside. A lot. They showed me a ton of love and support. All of our family vacations involved being outside. I rarely remember staying in hotels. We camped. They took me fishing. They took me skiing. They put a basketball in my hands. They also took me to church but never forced me into beliefs. They allowed me to form those on my own.
2) When I was a teenager (13ish to high school graduation). Tom and Lisa made a big time mistake here. They introduced me to running. This led to many early Saturdays for them traveling across Missouri to watch me run across parks and golf courses. They went to every track and cross country meet. But they were not the crazy parents many of my teammates had. They cheered me on. They supported me. They celebrated with me when I ran well and were bummed with me when I ran poorly. It might be hard to believe, but there were a lot of parents that actually got mad or disappointed in their kids when they ran poorly. This was never the case for me. They showed up. They ran across the golf courses and parks to cheer me on in as many places as possible. They were waiting at home when I showed up with tears still in my eyes after the state cross country championships my senior year. They waited at the track at the sectional championships my senior year while I went behind the grand stand and cried my eyes out after missing state qualifying by about a second – officially ending my high school running career.
They also supported growth, experiences and spirituality by continually taking me into nature and putting up with all of the stupid things teenage dudes do (especially with friends).
3) When I was a college student (18ish to 24ish). Support and love. Again. That is really all they showed me during this time. Even though I continuously went away from them and put other people and pursuits as higher priorities in my life. Specifically, when I was putting all of my time and energy into one relationship, they continued to wait eagerly for my phone calls or my visits home. Even though I blew them off for the pursuit of this relationship, they showed love and support. And that day when it all came crashing down, they wept with me. They hurt with me. They shared my burden and broken heart. They ached for me. They did as much as they could to take the pain from me.
4) The now (25) and future. Even though I am 25 and have two college degrees, they still send me money for groceries when my food assistance falls through the cracks of the bureaucracy of the federal government. They support my dreams even though they involve potentially moving across the country from them and putting myself in the debt they have worked so hard to keep me from. Even though they would love to see me settle into a career and begin to fully support myself, they continue to support my passions that will delay a career and financial stability for another few years.
Tom and Lisa Allen are full of love, support and interest in my life. They have taught me about the value of hard work. They fostered a healthy spiritual environment without forcing their beliefs. They introduced me to outside and every resplendent activity and sight that comes with it. They taught me to relentlessly pursue my dreams. They taught me to be fearless. They taught me I can do anything if it is truly something I care about. Their unyielding love and support is why I am who I am. And for that, I am forever grateful.
I invite you to join in on affirming someone close to you today. Or someone not close to you. Whatever. Affirming is the best. Affirmation Mondays!