Next month, my parents will be celebrating 30 years of marriage. 30 years that were blessed with five children and countless dollars spent on prom and homecoming dresses and back to school crayons (NEVER Crayola. Rose Art, anyone?) Looking back on the years living at home, never once, did I think "Well, this is it. This is the fight that will leave my sisters and I choosing which parent we want to spend Christmas and Ash Wednesday with." Sure, they had discussions and arguments, but never fights. Never had yell-at-the-top-of-your-lungs fights sprinkled with pull-out-all-the-stops fights. If they did, they never conducted that sort of business in front of us girls. I am sure there were those "discussions" that had the possibility of escalating into nasty emotional drama, but we never were prived to that sort of immature mud slinging. My role model for a healthy marriage? My parents. Easy.
So, how do you gift your parents with a gift that symbolizes that respect and admiration? How do you put into a thing the thoughts and love and honor you reserve for them? You would assume looking at my parents house and based on my blogs poking fun at Mom's lack of interior decorating preference, that it would be easy. Me, the girl with matching green plaid seat cushions that correspond with her Lemon Pepper table runner, that jive with her Aspen red plate settings. I've got nothing. When I posed the question to Aaron about what to get Mom and Dad, he suggested reasonable items. Items that would solve all the issues I have with their house. For example, he suggested getting rid of their old Zenith, which the new Plasma sits. Author note: the "new plasma" has been in their house for over 3 years. It's still new to me and my sisters. It'll probably always be "new" to us. Anyways, their new TV sits on top of their old TV. This is the TV that I first watched the beloved "Little House on the Prairie" so many Fridays on PBS ago. The TV that we religiously watched "America's Funniest Home Videos" Sunday evenings. The TV that I watched "This Old House" on Sundays after Mass, while Daddy "dozed" in his chair. The TV that played countless, I mean countless, Disney VHS tapes. "Walker Texas Ranger"? You bet, it had a home in our Saturday evening hearts (and the eyes of the ranger are always upon you). How could Aaron suggest that we get RID of this decorating surreal work? Nope. Tacky TV on TV action stays.
Next idea was a dishwasher, that works. We have one, oh yes, we have one. It's old and not hooked up and houses many old rags and dish towels and the molding things you use to mold hamburger patties. I think there is also some frosting decorating tools in old bread sacks. So, yeah. We don't have one. I know what you're thinking, with angst: "How did they do all those dishes?! By hand?! Oh! The horrible display of sanitation!!" If the fact that we did our dishes by hand disgusts you, then I'll leave out the garbage container that is an old butter container that sits on our counter. So many, so many memories are housed for me around that beloved sink. Throwing water at Mel, when she put back dishes that I had quickly washed; screaming in terror, when Daddy would put his nostrils against the outside window, hoping to scare the crap out his daughters (which he always succeeded). Watching TV and hearing Mom screech "I need some dish dryers" and then Daddy anxiously pushing us (ok, more like demanding) to get into the kitchen to help our mother. At the time, I would have given anything to have a dish washer like all my friends; being able to load it and walk away and NOT have to spend one more minute with my slimy, stinky sister. Pure torture.
I'd give anything to go back to those days of having Mel closer to me.... And life not being so complicated with the responsibility of finding health insurance since we're self employed (darn farming) and proving previous coverage prior to September 1. I miss those days sharing a room with her and making CLEAR divisions as to what MY side was and what HER side was. I digress.
You see, all the things that we sisters agonized over as annoying and frustrating while we were growing up............ Those hick deals made us who we are today. The memories. The yelling. The tears. The soaked shirts. Standing in front of that old Zenith to say the blessing before meals and making sure that Mel and Alayna weren't looking at the TV while praying. Horrible Catholics. Writing this is even making me bittersweet emotional. It's a flood of memories that are kept in that TV on TV action and that dishwasher full of old rags.
So, I think we're all at a loss as to what to give Mom and Dad next month........ Because they've already given us everything a Harvey County daughter could want. A vintage TV and smelly dishwasher.