As I trek towards the adventure of becoming a parent, I have a lot to learn in a short time. I look at those I admire as parents and as children. I look and find so much I want to teach my children and an unending inspiration to grow as a parent.
Do you ever wonder if your parents even know who you are? What about your kids? I mean, really know you? What you stand for? What is important to you? Your priorities in life? I mean know you, not as their child or as their parent, but as a human being?
Robbie was a kid that gave his heart to every one who needed one. I say kid, but when I met him his was 32 years old. He was one of those people you meet that always seem like a kid. Perhaps because of the life in his eyes, energy in his step or what I once saw as naive vulnerability.
Robbie gave his heart to those "needy" girls. You know the type. They need to be saved, and Robbie never stopped trying to save them. He knew their issues. He knew his own. He knew it was his job to help them. He knew it wasn’t good for him. He went in, fully committed anyway.
Robbie got in trouble. Often. Being a commercial fisherman, puts you in company with some lost souls & pockets full of temptation. This company sometimes needed a friend to "take care" of them. Temptation and pockets of cash can be tricky waters to charter.
Robbie was also the guy that gave everything he had to everyone else. He's the guy who made sure his ex girlfriends legal issues were worked out. He's the guy that made sure she had plane fare home. How long they had been together, was far more important than how long they'd been apart or why.
He's the guy that drove an hour and a half to his mom's to plow her driveway. He's the guy that would crawl under their house, through the mud, mice poo and spiders (eeek) to fix whatever needed to be fixed. He's the guy who bought two snow mobiles so that his family could enjoy as much as he did. He was the guy who kept an apartment an hour away, but actually lived with his mom for the year his step dad had a job 2 hours away.
Nancy is Robbie's mom. Nancy is a strong independent, incredibly capable woman. She looks 45 but I'm pretty sure she just turned 60-something. She is a unique one. As a child, raised on an Indiana farm, she convinced her dad to let her raise a 3-legged piglet. She hand raised the pig till he reached slaughter weight and then ate him for supper. There are many things that impress me about this woman, but 2 things stand out. 1- Her wisdom & 2- Her relationship with Robbie (actually I'm quite sure the two are strengthened by the other.) Nancy has 3 children. Robbie is her oldest. Nancy REALLY KNEW her son.
Robbie and Nancy knew each other. Robbie talked with his mom when he got in trouble. She knew what got him there. Robbie & his mom discussed his girlfriends and friends he was spending time with. I suspect Nancy was cognizant of walking the line between "mom" and "friend". I suspect Robbie was as well. Robbie didn't share everything with mom. Like many of us, Robbie saw and experienced things he wouldn't want his mom to ever have to think about, worry and ache over. But he would tell her when there were things we was not sharing. His compassion for others flowed first. I wonder sometimes, what Nancy did in Robbie's earlier years to foster this character.
Robbie was buried this past weekend. He died this past winter. Freak accidents happen to commercial fishermen. Nancy welcomed people into the funeral home, comforted other mourners and encouraged others in her darkest hour. "How does she do this?", I wondered. Bruce (Nan's hubby) may have said it best, "It somehow makes it harder, and somehow easier that she knew her son, in a way most parents do not."
As I mulled his words in my mind, I wonder how much, my own parents really know me. And I wonder if that is possible for anyone, other than your God, to really know what is in your heart. But it did give me something to strive for. I haven't been the perfect child. My parents certainly not "perfect" parents. Neither were Robbie and Nancy. What is true is that as parents, mine and most, do what they can. We do what we know how to do. We do the best we can.
This drives me to learn more. To have more tools in my parental tool box. And further, knowing this story makes me want to REALLY KNOW my children. Most importantly, how I parent my children, will be modeled by how they parent and relate to their children.
For my children: I hope that we not only lived through those teenage years, but that we strived through. I hope that we are confident that we really know each other. That you know what is important in my life priorities, my love, my passions my heart. I hope that I have fostered your life to be confident in showing and sharing your heart with those that, in the end, matter.