And so it’s post four of the challenge…
Day 4: Your parents
Oh man, my parents? Well… Lets see… I wasn’t born to my dad, but… I might as well have been. He’s the only dad I’ve ever known, and he’s the only dad I WANT to know. He is (as of 1997) the dad listed on my birth certificate and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way, so with that out of the way, let’s tell you about them. We’ll actually start with my mom.
She was born on October 3rd, 1954. She spent a good chunk of her life in southern California. Her family was not a wealthy one, and maybe a little complicated in some ways. Her family tree is impossibly difficult, and I’ll be sure to post about it someday in hopes that I can find an answer. Besides all that I know my mom worked in the nutrition field for a hospital, I know she has a real knack for mechanical work, I know she’s been in the mobile home selling business, I know she’s been a bartender, and a bar manager. I know she raised four kids, and she somehow has a little bit of sanity left. Most people will know my mom for her ability to create stuff, particularly cool looking stuff, sometimes out of other stuff, sometimes out of what seems like nothing at all. She once helped me make a DNA strand out of pipe cleaners and some sort of paste. She made my dad his wooden chiefs book out of a block of wood with a dremel tool. She used to watch a lot of Bob Ross and made realistic paintings of happy tress, too.
My mom taught me a lot of things, quite a few of them I refused to admit I’d learned. She taught me to live thriftly, though I often will choose not to, she taught me to figure things out, she taught me acceptance, fairness, and love. She also taught me that I should stand up for myself, that I cannot nor should not try to save the entire world, and that sometimes, all someone needs is a good friend. She taught me how to do chores (again, I like to pretend I can’t keep a house to save my life) and she taught me to forgive. My mom can be quite a pain when it comes to getting a hold of her, and she suffers from depression that can really kick her butt, but all in all I know my mom did the best she could at being my mom and despite a whole lot of difficult times she came across, she never smothered me, never wronged me, and never stayed mad at me for more than an hour.
Robert Franklin Choate
My dad was born December 26th 1962. His life was spent growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I know less about my dad’s family growing up then my mom’s, but I hear driving on frozen lakes is good fun and I know that a Krolls Burger is worth 50 bucks to overnight to someone. My dad served active duty in the US Navy for more than 20 years. I was there when he retired, and I am proud of him for his service. He was a boatswain’s mate. He retired as a Senior Chief. My dad got to go to some really cool countries and he always brought back some really nifty things for us kids. I know I’ve had a kimono, a porcolin doll from Japan, a big rice hat from china, a silver plate from Singapore, a boomerang and kangaroo crossing sign from Australia, and other odds and ends.
My dad’s hobbies were and still are fixing odds and ends in the house, taking care of the dog, and shouting rather loudly at the TV when the Green Bay Packers aren’t playing as well as he thinks they should. My dad also enjoys a good BBQ, a large bonfire, and Mafia Wars. Growing up, I always thought my dad was really hard on me. He’d celebrate when I brought home A’s but would be disappointed if I didn’t. He expected me to be extremely punctual, polite, and active. If it was sunny, we were told to get outside. If we were late, we were grounded. He taught me to push myself, to quit saying I’m sorry all the time, to drive a car, to change a tire, to mow the lawn, and how to string together more strands of Christmas lights than should be possible. He took me camping, fishing, to softball games, and firework shows. He did and still does have a short temper but he also loves all of us like crazy.
Over the many years I’ve gone from thinking my parents were the smartest and most capable beings in the world, to resenting them, to hating them, to missing them, to wishing they were living nearby. I have ups and downs with them, but I know they gave me every opportunity, I know they taught me the best they could, and I know they will not let me fail. Now that I have my own two kids I realize how hard they worked, what a pain in the ass I must have been, and how their imperfections really aren’t so imperfect.
So here’s a cheers to my mom and dad, I’m still alive, and I’m surviving, and it couldn’t be that way without you.