Today I am thankful for my parents. The older I get the more appreciate just what it is they built. They both came from divorced homes (in the midwest, in the 50s, the scandal!). They met and married at Earlham College, a nice Quaker school in Indiana. They moved to Pennsylvania, my dad's childhood home, so he could go to graduate school. They bought a condemned 18th century grist mill out in the country (for $2000) that had no roof or electricity, and on their weekends and holidays they built it up into a working home. Then they had four kids in five years, me number four. They continued to work on the house, and made it lovely, preserved the history of the place and in general a magic place to grow up. They took us around the world. And all without help from their own parents and very little money. It wasn't perfect, of course, but they truly built something from nothing. Now they have been married 45 years and are still supporting each other against whatever comes their way. They raised us in a house with no television, and taught me about family dinner, about reading aloud, about Scrabble. About scrapple and shoofly pie. About homesteading. And books, they taught me so much about books. My dad told us the Canterbury tales as bedtime stories. My mom taught me to bake from her cookbooks from the 1950s when baked goods invariably involved that wonder ingredient, Crisco.
Now that I am a parent myself, they give me so much more than what they had. More help than they had to do less than they did. Help with child care and building projects around the house, moral support, treats. They accept and love the man I married. And most of all, they are still together and still teaching me to be kind.