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No, not a rant thread. Sorry kids.

This is the good stuff. I want to know what you get from your parents - what qualities they've bestowed and how they've defined you.

* * * * * *

These are my parents, Mary and Joseph (yes, really). They met in a tile factory when my dad (a machine operator) slapped my mum (a secretary) on the arse. Back then it was considered a normal method of introduction.

My dad is the weird one. He had a car crash when he was a teenager and the doctors said he would be a vegetable. He made a full recovery though, and the only thing that changed was he developed this tendency to drift off at times. I think I've taken on a bit of that. He's also the one who insults people, sometimes ruthlessly, and usually through obscure wit. I get a lot of my arrogance from him, and also my heavy and frustrating silences. My dad is an avid sci-fi reader and a science teacher with genius-like understanding of physics and botany. He lives more or less in his own world and used to tell me crazy stories about aliens and ancient gods.

My mum is the one who gave me my control freak nature. Everything she's gone into she's dominated, the natural leader and organiser who people defer to. She was an actress at an early age and used to take me to watch Shakespeare plays when I was only six years old. She gave me my love of literature and art, and taught me that I was better than the other kids (not the best advice, I know, but it gave me ambition). She works in politics and education, always doing her best to cut through the bullshit and make changes that help the kids. There are times when I can achieve her level of charisma - times when I draw people to me and keep them entertained. She's a little more sedate these days. I often feel she remained a tower of strength for as long as she needed to... until I found my feet... and now she's learned to relax and not carry the weight of the world on her shoulders.

My parents have suffered greatly in the time I've known them. They've lost 4 of their children and the fifth (my brother, Ross) is Autistic. Ross was one of the first to be diagnosed in England and at that time there were no services or support for these kids. My parents fought, harassed and campaigned for Autism awareness and my Mum is now a councillor for the national charity and the head of the Lincolnshire County Autistic Society. They also had to deal with me - the youngest child on the edge of all these tragedies, who had lost four brothers and was unable to connect with the fifth. I certainly didn't make things easy for them.

But the most inspiring thing about them is this... They totally fucking adore each other. They've been married for 40 years and are completely in love - a love that's been strengthened by all the shit they've been through. I hope that is the last quality I take from them - the ability to be completely devoted to someone and stand beside them through the ups and downs.

Also... they're snappy dressers.
They are REALLY snazzy dressers, Asmo. o___o

I gotta sit here and think for a few minutes about good qualities, not just the bad. >:[ I don't have a very good relationship with my parents, and even though I am old enough to understand the how/whys I am still really bitter about it.

OKAY. My parents married when they were teenagers. Mom was like 17 and Dad about 19. They met when Mom was sitting on his car and Dad told her to get off it. >>; Everyone thought they were just getting married because mom was preggo. But she actually didn't have me for another two years.

My Dad has this whole "secret life before" thing about him. He was a black belt in karate. An AWESOME artist. He knew all about computers and tech stuff, so he could take it all apart and put it back together. When he married my mom, it's like all that interesting stuff kinda vanished. He's been a truck driver as long as I've been alive. He's got a total troll sense of humor and was a really relaxed and fun guy to be around. When I was little, I was totally Daddy's little girl. He was my woooorld and I adored him to death. Then when life really went down the shitter he started drinking and became an alcoholic. >:[ He was never abusive, but he'd be really belligerent and rude. So I just kinda... distanced myself from him a lot.

I know all of my artsy stuff comes from my Dad! And my people skills. My dad is the kind of guy everyone LOVES to be around! (At least when he's not drinking. c__c) He was always trying to teach me how to do new things.

My mother... e_e; Well. She's imaginative. She can dream up all sorts of things, so I know that all comes from her. She CAN be a intelligent woman, and I'm sure she would have if she hadn't gotten in to drugs and became a lunatic. She is another person with charisma and knows how to use it. I learned this from her and my grandmother. She really instilled this "You need to think for yourself and be independent" mindset in me, but then tried to beat it back out of me when I got older and disagreed with how she was being a Mom.

Er, I learned imagination and people-skills from Mom. We'll leave it at that. >:[

Mostly, I've learned how NOT to live my life through all of the mistakes my parents made. x_x It's hard for me to tell which qualities I inherited from them, or just learned on my own. Cause my parents aren't the people they "really" are thanks to substance abuse. ._.; I stayed away from drugs and alcohol because I knew what it did to my parents.

Surprisingly enough my parents really love each other, even though I thought they should have gotten a divorce years ago. Yay for working through it and believing in marriage! I think this is what made me so picky about what I wanted from a relationship, and why when I -did- get in to relationships, they were usually long term.
What can I say about my parents?

My mom started parenthood as a single mother, being the four of five in an unhappy home and befriending the "wrong crowd". When her boyfriend found out she was having his kid, he didn't want anything to do with her, though his own father was happy about his first grandchild, and for the first six years of my life I would occasionally be spoiled by him. None the less Mom was on her own to raise a kid even though she couldn't read or hold down a traditional job because of dyslexia and headaches. She was determined to be a good mother, and she was, and she has been. She takes her responsibilities very seriously and is reliable to no end.

A few years later after I was born she met Dad, a young guy with a smart mouth and a bike who worked with her mom, and grandma's second husband. He's a geek, he loves his electronics and technology. He likes the newest toys, but he's a hard worker and has a heart of gold. He still works for the bus company but also runs a non-profit combining his interest in technology and transportation.

I think I take with me my mothers nurturing side, she ran a daycare for ten years, and I find my desire to care for those around me comes directly from the way she felt about each and every kid. I'll never have my dad's networking skills, but my middle ground approach I learned from him.

Sorry for the picture quality, it's an incredibly old photo that has been lugged around in my wallet for the last fifteen years.

My parents met in Latvia. My mom was on vacation there from University, and my dad moved there when he was ten. They were in their mid-twenties. Dad was playing chess with some friends on the beach when he saw my mom walking. He asked her if she wanted to play a couple games, thinking that he would go easy on her for the first game just so she would stick around. She wiped the floor with him, and the next game, and the game after that (even after he had started trying). Two weeks later, when my mom was back in Moscow, my dad took the train there, went to my grandpa and asked for my mom's hand in marriage.

They moved to Canada in the early eighties, both of my parents with Master's degrees in Engineering. My mom had a lot of complications in getting pregnant, from some stuff that happened when she was younger which I won't mention here. She miscarried twins, and my parents had both given up hope at having a child before my mom finally got pregnant with me. They were both forty when I was born, which is some times really difficult to deal with.

Growing up I was always closer to my mom. She raised me well. A lot of my traits come from her: being compassionate, friendly, helpful. I don't say this enough, but I absolutely love my mom, even though she can be a pain in the ass some times (especially with the guilt trips she lays on me :/). And she's not a complete pushover, she'll fight tooth and nail for what she believes in. As for my dad, I was close to him when I was younger, especially when it came to sports. We would play tennis and soccer together, go swimming, and all that fun stuff. My dad took a job in Libya, so we lived there for six years, and it's because of that job that I got to see the world when I was younger. Every couple of months we would travel, going to Egypt, Israel, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc etc.

Shit started going south when my mom and I moved back to Canada. We got in to a car crash that nearly killed us both. My mom was in the hospital for over a month, and my grandpa died two days after the accident, so my dad wasn't around because he had to go to the funeral in Latvia. Ever since then we've all sort of been growing apart. My mom resented me for the accident (she was driving me to a hockey practice at the time, and we had gotten in to a huge fight before leaving the house, so she missed the turn we needed to get to the arena and a semi ran in to us a couple of minutes later). It also started a common theme of my dad never being around. He stayed in Libya for another couple of years, and any time he came home he would always be pissed off for no reason. I haven't been close with my dad since I was eleven.

Recently, when my parents were living in Russia, my dad started cheating on my mom, which tore my mom apart, and she started taking it out on me. Eventually I found out when he was on a 'business trip' over Christmas and New Years instead of visiting me. That led to a shitstorm around the house, and there were some times where it almost came to blows when I stepped in to defend my mom from him. My dad used to hit me when I was younger if I didn't listen to him, so when I finally got the chance to stick up for myself and my mom, it took him down a notch. He changed after that and stopped treating my mom poorly. It was still tense, but better. My mom was completely heartbroken over the whole thing, and the only reason she didn't leave him was because she is still madly in love with him. Eventually I manned up, said we couldn't keep acting like a dysfunctional family, and that we had to work on treating each other better. So when my dad got a job here in Alberta, I said he could stay with me (it's only three days a week that he's here), and my mom is living in their apartment in Florida. Things have been going better, and my dad and I are both trying to repair our relationship. It took a while, but I finally realized that the reason he was away working so often was because he was doing it all for me, paying for my schooling (in full), making sure that I lived in comfort until I could support myself. He sacrificed the last twenty years of his life for me, which is something that I will never be able to repay him for.
My parents and I have our ons and offs. When I was a little kid, I loved both my parents, like most five year olds do. When I got older, we started having fights, mainly over school and stuff. I didn't want to do my homework, and couldn't see why proving I understood all the material by acing tests wasn't enough, and didn't accept the stupid "homework is sixty percent of your grade" bullcrap. Since then, my relationship has been rough with them. I eventually learned that if I didn't discuss anything important with them, then we'd be fine, but the moment an important topic came up, shit would hit the fan. And this was mostly due to the fact that my parents were born and raised in Iraq their whole life, moving here when I was three, and so I was essentially raised in a completely different culture, and they couldn't accept that. I'm not religious, as opposed to them being Catholic, and I told them straight up, I'd probably never marry an Assyrian chick, because I found them prudish and dull. >___>

BUT! I have learned a lot from my parents. My dad worked ever since he was 14 (in Iraq) fixing cars, and only went to school part time. Ever since he moved here, he went from being a clothes presser to a professional tailor, JUST from asking people who worked on clothes and figuring things out for himself. He never had any official training and now has his own clientele. People will come to work asking for him, and if he isn't in, they'll leave and come back on a day he is. He taught me that I need to value hard work and be responsible, that putting effort into something can be life changing. I'll complain about him as much as I do, but in all honesty, I respect him as a hardworking man, and he's the reason I respect so many of the "little people" of the world, the people who fix clothes, empty out dumpsters, cut grass. He was also the only one working in our family for a LONG time, and I eventually learned he never really sat and "relaxed". He was always thinking about how he'd pay his next mortgage, how much money he would budget for food and clothes, and a dozen other things. When I was younger, and he'd come home complaining about the electric bill, I just thought he was being a hardass. But being on my own for only a month now, and seeing how hard it really is to make money, I honestly understand why he was always so pissed.

My mom was the one I didn't really get along with. She was the stay-at-home mom, and stopped working after the second son was born (I'm the first). She's the reason I don't shirk when it comes to house cleaning, and why I even KNOW how to maintain a clean house. She's also the main reason I'm so organized when it comes to things, and, even though my room would get a bit messy, I'd ALWAYS have it clean a few days after it got messy.

And from both of them, I learned what kind of a parent I DON'T want to be. My dad always worked, and my mom would get abusive. So I'm determined to NEVER abuse my child (a smack is fine if the kid is being a brat, jeez), or be so focused on work I don't spend time with my kid. And, most of all, I will ALWAYS support my child in whatever they decide to do, AS LONG as they have a valid reason. My parents NEVER listened to reason, which ALWAYS infuriated me.

All in all, I respect them. To a certain degree.
My parents gave me a new appreciation for Batman.


Because they're dead.

I guess I could fill in more but hearing Batman scream it out like a lunatic is kind of a mental knee-jerk reaction to it now that I instantly hear in my head whenever I think about parents. I don't think they would have died like pussies like the Waynes did though, considering my mom shot the head off a rattlesnake with her eyes closed and my dad shot the hat off a man without looking. Yeah, they probably would have fought back.

They were really cool people though and a lot of people liked them because of how nice they were, but everyone also knew not to fuck with them either because they'd get their shit handed back to them with the force of a fist of an angry god. I really liked them. They taught me a lot about the difference between good and bad and fighting for JUSTICE and what you believed in your heart was the right thing to do. And even though they once told me they would buy me a birthday cake if I got into a fight in school even thought it wasn't my birthday(it was more to make me stick up for myself because I was a sensitive, don't-wanna-hurt-nobody bullied kid), I think that without all of their unconventional methods and genuine interest in my well-being and the gift of their practical knowledge on how to survive almost any situation, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Namely, a person ready to survive the impending zombie apocalypse.
My parents are the reason I am me, if it wasn't for them I probably would have turned out like any other average teenager...A complete and absolute asshole. Luckily, I was blessed with my wonder mother and father, thank the heavens for that. In all honestly, I can name more bad than good when it comes to qualities and some of those bad one's I've inherited but there are some that I definitely know are good!

My parents meet through friends whom were dating at the time. My dad's friend was dating my mom's friend and I can't exactly remember how they were brought together but I believe it having to do with my dad's friend asking his girl to bring someone along for him to get to know. My dad asked her to dance at the bar but she said no, not because she didn't like him but because she though one girl was giving her the stink eye because he was paying attention to her. Eventually they got to talking and knowing each other, two months later my dad proposed and my mom accepted. My mom only had one miscarriage before she gave birth to my older sister, I arrived two years later much to my sister's dislike.

I don't remember a lot from when I was little but what I do remember is wonderful. My mom and dad both worked really hard at there jobs. In my early childhood my dad would travel for work and my mom would work down town, my sister and I would stay at an after school daycare and play until she came to pick us up. One of the things I remember most of my mom in my youth was cooking. She tried to put hot meals on the table, but it slowly got harder and sometimes we'd eat out or get a pizza. But when she did have time to do a sit down meal she really went all out. She'd make a bag of potatoes into mash and she would make a meatloaf and veggies. If not that she'd make a giant pan of lasagna and give us big hunks of it on our plates. I hate to admit this and I will never say this to her face but those foods are one of the reasons that I'm going to school for culinary at the moment. When I have kids, I want to make meals that's they'll remember and that will inspire them ever.

Sadly, as I got older mom moved up hire up in her job and started working later, those big meals became weekend affairs and my sister and I started having to cook and clean for ourselves, I even learned how to do my own laundry when I was younger! I didn't mind then because it made me feel like I was an adult living my own life, other kids would complain about how there mom was yelling at them for their clothing to wash and I'd say that my mom did do that cause I could do my own, weird thing to be proud of right? I would also like to mention that I learned most of my survival skills from my father. As mom got busier, dad started working at home from his office or downtown at an office so he was home more. When dad was home he'd take place of mom, he'd cook and clean and answer our questions and it's been that way mostly since.

Now I know I haven't said much about qualities but I had to explain them a bit before I could, it wouldn't have made sense otherwise. Now, I fight with my mom a lot. There are things that she does that drive me insane and when I point them out she gets defensive about it but I know that no matter how much shit I give her or how mean I get she still loves me. She works her ass off every day, working with co-workers who usually suck at their jobs just to make sure we have money to do the things we want to do, the same goes for my dad too! He travels all over the place and make crazy flight arrangements and deals with a crappy system that never sends him his damn expense checks on time all for my sister and I to be able to do what we want to do and learn what we want to learn! I probably don't have such a strong work ethic, and I might never but I believe that all those times I worked hard for tests or worked hard to help them paint or when I work hard on something important, it is because they have shown me what hard work can give you, and that is everything.

Another thing I got from them is humor. My parents, mostly my father, make bad jokes. Jokes that parents shouldn't make with their kids. I didn't care though, that was how my family worked. We joked and laughed and played together and I would not give up any of those times for anything in the world. My parents fight like any other couple, but my parents just do it loudly. often times I would hide away in my room while they had a match for who could be the loudest. In the end it would pass and what they fought about would become a joke and they would laugh it off. If they couldn't do that then I don't think they would have lasted till now. Sadly, the fights have gotten a bit worse, but I must say that it is only because my mom is getting emotional from menopause and everything seems to make her angry. Otherwise they are just as happy and in love as they were when I was little.

I'm certain there is much more that I have gotten from them that I can't think of at the moment and I will end on this note because of it. I got a lot from my parents, both good and bad. Even though certain traits could use a good tuning, I wouldn't change them at all. My parents raised me and made me who I am today, without them I would not be going to school right now or studying what I have wanted to study most of my life. They taught me what to be and what not to be. They showed me both good and bad, wrong and right. If they hadn't I can't imagine what I would have become. I only know one thing as a fact and that is that I love, I mean love my parents though I might not show it all too well. I hope someday I can pass the good traits on to my kids and help them develop into wonderful individuals.

As for the bad...I think I'll try and tweak that a little better than they did~
My parents taught me the value of education, integrity, and not being a whiny pussy.

Then I went and became a multitalented polymath with an M.D., a masters in awesome, and a bachelor's in asskicking.

...I think I may have overdone it.
My parents...

My dad was born and raised in Pakistan, but lived in England for quite some time (he is half British, his grandparents are native to the UK). He was the middle child of eight, but definitely the most adventurous. Before the age of 26, he had already studied in Belgium, traveled half of Europe and some parts of Asia, worked at various places throughout his travels (my favorite being the toothpaste factory in Russia!) and spent nearly a year of interning in Nigeria as an english teacher. When he returned to Pakistan that year, his parents insisted on his marriage to the daughter of a friend, my mother. She was at the time, an aspiring med school student, a dilligent, hard-worker who loved to party and didn't study nearly as hard as she should have (since her daddy was the education minister at the time T~T) so she got her degree with a little bit of "help". Then, after marriage, my father took her along with him in their travels (so many photos @_@) they stayed at different countries at a time, giving my mom work experience and my dad his usual learning pieces and bits of languages and cultures. They spent nearly three months in sweden, where my mom wanted to settle down, but decided against when my dad expressed his interest in settling down in canada so off they went. My dad was a scientist so he opened a laboratory and my mom got a small job as a physician. After about a year or so, there was an argument at her job so they moved to America (NYC), where my sister was born. (this is the 70s people.) My dad opened a lab in NY, too. They switched back to Canada at some point in my sister's childhood and my brother was born (80s). They moved back when he was in preteens, but I wasn't born until '93 and by that time, my dad was at the point of retirement and somewhere along the way, my parents were considering divorce. My brother was the usual crazy teenage boy going out and coming late and sneaking in through the basement. my sister ran off to college in canada and then my mom tried to get my dad to sell the house and they got separated. After that, I've been living with my dad. We started living with my mom here and there for periods of a year or more, but with the excessive fighting, we'd always end up separating after that period of time.

Anyways, what have my parents taught me?
Really, the question is, what has my mom taught me? Well, she's taught me everything I don't want to be in life - I don't want to be anti-religious, a hypocrite and a psycho money-lover that's so greedy that she's become a workaholic. And she just keeps piling up the money and the houses and all that trash. She's going to fall over one day and regret it. I learned from her that money isn't important. No matter what, when she didn't have the money she was happier. When she didn't care about the money, she cared about her family. I don't ever want to fall prey to money - or greed, for that matter.

My dad, retired as he has been since I was a child, has taught me that also. We rarely had the money for fancy dinners or expensive things. I was the kind of kid that built things out of sticks and stones and was happy with just that. When I needed a new notebook, I would take the remaining pages out of my older ones and staple them together with the white side of a post office folder as the cover. Things like that reminded me that it wasn't what you possessed, but what you had. I had a family, a loving father, a wonderful world outside - cats and birds and trees, I spent most of my time sitting in the park and singing or talking to myself or writing in a journal. My upbringing was so peaceful and so poor at the same time. We didn't really have a place to live. Every few months or so we'd move from one place to another, taking a room in someone's apartment or temporarily borrowing the house of someone who was away for vacation for a few months. It was painful, when I got older and realized what was going on, but even when it hit me, I would be reminded to think of my dad, and how hard he was working for me, even though he was old and tired and that would give me strength.

You can be amazing without actually having any kind of possession. You don't need material wealth to give yourself value. You don't need material things to live a life you will be satisfied with. You just need an open heart and a clear mind.

That is the greatest thing that my father taught me.
From my mother, I continue to learn what I should not do. I should not get angry, because you cannot control anger. I should not be a hypocrite, because the truth will come out. I should not lie to myself, because that drives you insane. I should not lie to my family, because they honestly are the only people who are going to be there for me when things go bad.

From my father, I learn to appreciate the world. He has taught me every manner, every etiquette, every possible ounce of love in my heart has been instilled there. If you give me any kind of word, I will relate a memory of my father. Animals, fruits, manners, history, physics, taking walks in the park, taking computers apart, talking, racing, dancing, laughing, cooking, cleaning, drawing, coloring, painting, designing, thinking, crying --- my father has invested the last 18 years into making me into a confident individual who can see the world as it really is, who wants to live a life outside of the bubble of security and actually do something to change people's lives.

I don't go with the flow, I create the flow. The refreshing personality that I have (not to sound arrogant or anything) is a product of my mother's anguish against me (yes, sometimes all these years, i've been trying my best to just prove to her how different I am from her and how much stronger I will be just because of her hatred against me), but most strongly, my father's hard work.

Despite my parents still being separated and not getting along, I can honestly say I think they are happy. And I respect them for the fact that they tried. For the sake of their children, they sacrificed what they could. Even if my mother got lost along the way, I know her intentions had been to give me a better life. When I was born and she sent me off with my aunt and did not reveal to me my real parents until five years later, I thought she abandoned me, but now I can understand the plea of a mother who has no income to support another child wanting her child to live a life of luxury where possible, I can understand that selfish plea. It's not right, but I can understand. And my father, who probably lives and breathes now only for my sake, to make sure that I am happy and comfortable and capable and responsible so that I can live and thrive when he is gone, in the near future.

And as my parents are old, I realize that innate feeling of love towards one's parents never really goes away. Whether you hate them or you love them, the connection will always be there. That's why, I forgive my mother for her wrong display of affection. I forgive her for all the times she acted like she hated me. It's possible that, in her own way, she does love me, and I will stake my hopes on that. Even if it's not true, I will believe it is, because all mothers, in some minute form, will love the baby they bore. And my father, I love him for all his flaws because has worked hard.

While they are still alive, I will glorify them. I will call them every day from my hostel and talk to them kindly, because without my parents I would not be there. Without my mother, I would not know the pain of not being understood, the anguish and frustration of ranting about her behaviour. pain, too, is an important part of life. Without my father I would not know the sweet taste of apples plucked from a tree, the feeling of climbing a tree to pick blackberries, the tickle of wet grass on a mountain top, the beauty of stars in the wilderness, the fun of traveling -- all these delights of life, my father made sure to show me.

In the end, I am their daughter.
happily & thankfully so.
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My mother has been the most important person in my life since I was a child. I don't know my father, and he's never been around for me. My mother raised me like a single parent. She's given me the love and support to make me who I am today and she's responsible for the type of person I've become as well as serving as an example for what I hope to be as a parent.

My mother did everything for me as a child. She refused to give me up, despite being an unwed mother. When she had no one to watch me, she brought me to work with her. She enrolled me in everything I wanted to do and gave me every opportunity. I got to do tap dancing, gymnastics, soccer, and swimming when I was young and she went so far as to be the coach of my soccer team. She sewed me dresses every Christmas and Easter.

All of this love and support has given me the safety net to approach the rest of my life without fear and the knowledge that I am loved.