Friday, March 28, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 7: Parents}

Week 1: Birth
Week 2: School
Week 3: Hobbies
Week 4: Birthdays
Week 5: Childhood Home
Week 6: Grandparents

7. What were your parents like? Did you have a special relationship with either of them? Do you know anything about them when they were children?

I am incredibly close with both of my parents. I feel very blessed to have such a great relationship with my parents, both growing up and as an adult. I know that is something that many people don't get to experience, so I try to remember to be grateful for it and not take it for granted.

Jeanine Newman Brown

My mom is a very caring woman. She always wants to be involved in the lives of those close to her—her children, her grandchildren, and her friends. As the youngest child, I spent a lot of time with Mom. She worked while I was growing up, but she was generally able to find work she could do from home. I remember countless times going clothes shopping and grocery shopping and any other kind of shopping with Mom. The only kind of shopping I thoroughly loathed was fabric shopping. Mom would drag me to fabric stores and spend what felt like hours looking through the fabric and the patterns. I hated every second of it. And that is still something we joke about on a regular basis.

Mom is a crafty person. She sews, crochets, cross stitches, quilts, and makes jewelry. When I was about 10, I wanted to learn how to crochet, so Mom sat down and patiently showed me how to work the yarn into knots with the hook. I'm sure it was slow-going, but I eventually got it. She was also good at correcting me when I had done something wrong, without making me feel stupid. She would teach me that I needed to count every stitch to make sure that my edges were even (though it took me a long time to really internalize that lesson; I hated counting stitches, so my edges were often all over the place). She also taught me to read a pattern so I could make more difficult projects. I still love crocheting to this day, and that is mostly thanks to Mom. She also taught me how to counted cross stitch, which I loved for a long time. Mom was also very supportive of my random crafty interests. She would buy me yarn to make baby blankets or take me to get the right colors for a cross stitch pattern. She would also let me have a lot of her embroidery floss to make the countless friendship bracelets I was always making.

Mom was almost always the one that helped me with my schoolwork. Which wasn't a picnic, let me tell you. I had this tendency to put homework off until late in the day when I was tired and not thinking clearly. Poor Mom would sit down with me and try to help me work through the assignment while I would frequently break down in tears because I didn't think I could do it. She would also deal with last-minute projects and trips to the grocery store for poster board and markers.

When I have a question or need help with something, I always call Mom. When I was in college, I would often call her during breaks between classes to talk to her about boy problems or school stresses or whatever other issues I was having. She was always willing to talk to me and listen to me whine and complain. I still call her when I need help with things, and she's always available. She's always supported me in everything I've done. She went to all of my big performances in high school choir and drama (even the most terrible Robin Hood: The Musical), and she and my dad even came on choir tour with me (though that was probably just an excuse to go on vacation). I always knew that I could count on Mom being there when I needed her.

One memory of her always being there sticks out in my mind. I had finally ended my dysfunctional relationship with my long-term boyfriend, and it was definitely not on good terms. It was later at night, and after I got off the phone, I went upstairs to find my mom watching TV. I told her what happened and broke into tears, and she told me how happy she was that I had been strong enough to make this decision and go through with it. She helped me see how detrimental my relationship had been to my emotional health, and I left that conversation feeling hopeful about my future and feeling like I had made the best decision for my own personal well-being. But she never made me feel bad about staying in the relationship for so long; she just made me feel good about my decision to end it, which was something I desperately needed right then.

David Roy Brown

I am a daddy's girl through and through. From the time that I was super little, I've always wanted to be near my dad. I'm also a whole lot like my dad. While I look more like my mom, I am more of an introvert like my dad. He is a funny, personable guy, and it's my favorite when he gets in a goofy mood. He often gets in goofy moods when we're on vacation and he can allow himself to just completely relax. Dad is also an incredibly kind and caring man. He has been bishop in two different wards, and he fulfills that calling to its fullest.

Dad is the main reason that I am such a huge sports fan. When I was little, I would sit with Dad and watch Jazz games. For the longest time, I was afraid of being vocal about the sports, so while Dad would yell and holler at the TV, I would whisper "Yes!" when something good happened. (I definitely grew out of that. Hollering and yelling is an integral part of watching any sport now.) When I was about five, Dad took me to a preseason Jazz game. He told me over and over that if I got tired, we could go home. But I stayed awake for the whole game and paid attention to everything. The Jazz beat the 76ers, and I had so much fun. Dad was amazed. I've been going to sporting events with him ever since.

One of my best memories of Dad was my senior year of high school. I had auditioned for a major role in our school musical, and I didn't get it. I was devastated because I felt like I had nailed my audition. I came home from school very upset and shut myself in my room to cry and stew and make myself angrier. Dad came to talk to me about letting go of the anger and doing my best with the role I had been given. He was very understanding and told me about a similar experience he had had in high school (he also did theater). Having this kind of talk was usually something my mom did, so hearing it from Dad had a really big impact on me. In the end, it was probably a very good thing I didn't get the role because of a lot of other things that went on during that show, so having Dad help me through that was a big deal to me.

Dad also joined Mom in coming to all of my big high school performances. One of the most memorable productions I was in was a locally written one act that was a combination of the Anne Frank story and a Holocaust prisoner of war story, and it was very powerful. I had a fairly big role, and we performed it for free for our families and fellow students. When we came out for the curtain call, we got a standing ovation. I immediately looked for my parents, and Dad had tears streaming down his face as he applauded. I could tell in that moment that he was very proud of me and my work.

While I don't call Dad with problems nearly as much as I call Mom, he is also always there to talk. When I do call him for one thing or another, we end up talking for way longer than expected, and we always have good conversations. He's a really good listener and always makes me feel like he's truly hearing me.

I'm so very grateful for the parents I've been given. There's so much more I could write about both of them. They have both always supported me in everything I've chosen to do and have pushed me to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. They've seen my potential and tried their best to help me achieve it, and I don't think you can ask for much better in your parents.

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