grateful list: parents

My last post was about how thankful I am for M and our relationship. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and holidays in general, I've been thinking about all the other things I'm grateful for this year. I've been writing notes down randomly so I have a lot to say. Instead of cramming it all into one post, I think I'll write several.

I'm thankful for my parents, specifically for the way they helped me to cultivate a love of reading and creative writing. I was an imaginative kid and instead of stifling that, my family celebrated it. My parents supported my decisions even when they did not agree with them. I have always been a bit odd and some of my choices reflect that. I lived in England for a while; I left the South for graduate school and have stayed in the Midwest. I never fit in to other's expectations of me and I'm sure my parents had to defend me throughout my life. My teen years were incredibly difficult as I've written about before and I put the two of them through a lot of heartache. But they always believed in me and saw success for me even when I didn't. I've talked a lot about the influence my parents' love of books had throughout my girlhood. I come by my love of words honestly. I have no doubt I would not have a Ph.D. without their encouragement. I appreciate that they read to me and took me to libraries and privileged reading and intellectual pursuits. Whenever students ask me why I wanted to be a teacher of English, I think of my parents. It is because of them that I want to share my love of language, of books, of knowledge with others. It is also because of them that I can. I often say that I was born to be in academia and in many ways it is true. My parents prepared me, even as a girl, to love learning. I told someone on the flight here that as a teenager I only liked the mall because of the bookstore. You could drop me off in a bookstore and I could live for days, surrounded by my fictional friends and companions. I could sustain myself with miles of books, though the fact that bookstores have cafes now really helps.

I am grateful for my parents because they taught me firsthand how to foster desire to learn in others, simply by being enamored with knowledge themselves. They were my first teachers: what a pair! And for their encouragement, support and unwavering faith in me, I say thank you.