These two people are, hands down, the two most influential people in my life. Each has had their own special way of affecting and influencing my life.
My father, one of the hardest working men I know, never slows down. He worked his way up the ladder in corporate America, faced adversity and economic downturn multiple times, but never gave up. His work ethic, business skills, diplomacy, and customer service skills have been a major influence on who I am today. My father has supported us, coached us, and fought for us. He also paid for each one of his kids to go to college, not because he was rich but because he worked really hard and fulfilled a goal he had set for himself - how awesome is that!? In addition to his business acumen and unending support he has shown me, just this year, how to survive. Faced with multiple, serious, and scary medical issues, he has not let anything - any frustration, any set back, any physical change - beat him. He keeps on keeping on, puts on a really brave face, and continues to fight the good fight. I respect and honor the courage he has shown this year more than he will EVER know.
My mom. One of the most loving, compassionate, thoughtful, kind and giving people I know. To my kids, I am not even a quarter of what she is and was to my brothers, sister, and me. And my kids would probably say that too. She was meant to be a mom, and a grammie. She is such a natural caregiver, excelling in taking care of others - and always before herself. She's not just nice, she's wicked funny too. She's the first to drop anything and everything if you need something. Most of all though, she is the world's best listener. We always told her everything - EVERYTHING. I mean EvErYthing! You know why we told her? Because she listened, she wanted to know, and she was very slow to judge us for what we said to her. That is and was my favorite thing about her.
My parents. I would never be who I am today without them. And I am so happy I have them in my life and my children's lives too. (p.s. - they've been married for 37 (or 38?) years too!)
I love you mom and dad!!!