Monday, October 22, 2007

Family Jewels

When we are kids, we naturally have an exaggerated admiration of our parents. It’s understandable - compared with our peers, they are incredibly intelligent and talented. Whether they are heroes or zeros, they tower above the world on a parental pedestal. We don’t know any better and we are proud to call them mom and dad.

When my dad went to hockey practice, I remember imagining that he was playing at the Saddledome with Lanny McDonald. When my mom and I would belt out ‘Islands in the Stream’ in the car on the way to ECS, I imagined it could be her on the stage with Kenny Rogers. My dad was like Bob Vila – with a hammer and the right amount of duct tape, no household repair or renovation was out of reach. My mom was the original iron chef – no need for a recipe or a measuring cup. Before the crocodile hunter, there was my dad, who counted a snakes, spiders and flesh eating fish among his pets. Before Martha Stewart, there was my mom, who was an expert interior designer, seamstress, fashionista. They were both so smart that they were entrusted with shaping the next generation of young minds. They had great fortunes that allowed us to travel. My parents were cool.

As we grow up and learn more about the world, our perspective changes. We see that the world is filled with a lot of smart and talented people. The parental pedestal fades and your parents are judged on their own merits.

Public school teachers, with two kids, a modest house, and modest cars, my parents were not out of the ordinary. And yet, they are the most extraordinary people. Parental pedastal gone, my mom and dad stand tall.

This has become particularly evident to me since their retirement about a decade ago. They have always had hobbies, but retirement has allowed them to pursue them without limitation. Travel, reading, golf, quilting, pottery, cycling, painting, hockey, cooking, landscaping, fixing stuff, gardening, volunteering, music. My parents are dynamic and ambitious and multi-talented and are continuing to grow. It’s so awesome. Let me tell you about just one of the ways my parents are amazing.

My family was never particularly musical, although my dad used to play a handful of songs (mostly choruses) on his banjo while he watched Hockey Night in Canada and my mom had an autoharp that spent a lot of time leaning against the basement wall. It seemed to me that music was an odd hobby for them, since they weren’t really “performers”. They were too reserved for that. They wouldn’t even sing out loud for Christmas Carols! Then, a couple of years ago, my dad got more serious about his banjo picking and my mom wiped the dust off of her autoharp. They joined a bluegrass club and, before I knew it, formed a band with two others; called Blue River. They jam at the house once a week (how cool is that, my parents JAM!). They started taking gigs at retirement homes and church parking lots. This summer, I had the incredible pleasure of watching my parents play LIVE in front of a crowd. And, they rocked!
I’m so proud I could cry.

6 Comments:

Blogger Emma said...

Banjo and autoharp. That is so, so, cool. Next time I'm in Calgary I'm SO jamming with your parents, ok?

October 23, 2007 at 2:34:00 AM MDT  
Blogger KELI said...

Well Said Tori!! I too am proud of your parents as they raised to terrific daughters who I am proud to call my nieces!!

October 25, 2007 at 1:23:00 PM MDT  
Blogger KELI said...

OOPS, I CAN'T BELIEVE I REFERENCED "TO" IN THE WRONG CONTEXT - SHOULD HAVE BEEN "TWO TERRIFIC DAUGHTERS".
GUESS I SHOULD READ MY COMMENTS MORE CAREFULLY BEFORE SENDING THEM OFF TO YOU.
THANKS FOR YOUR COMPASSION TORI IN HAVING NOT "BEATEN" MY ERROR TO DEATH!!

October 30, 2007 at 7:33:00 PM MDT  
Blogger tori said...

Emma - Sounds like a fantastic idea, but it's up to them. Notwithstanding the fact that they have played many shows now, I think they are still a bit shy.

October 31, 2007 at 6:55:00 AM MDT  
Blogger tori said...

Keli - It's great to hear from you. I hadn't even noticed the error! As long as you promise not to tell anyone, I will let you in on a little secret...I make typo's from time to time as well!

October 31, 2007 at 6:56:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buy that guitar!

December 18, 2007 at 8:47:00 PM MST  

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