|My dad (Manuel), me, and my mom (Ella Mae).|
These are my parents and I on my Wedding Day (this is probably the most recent picture I have of both of them where my dad is looking his best).
My dad's name is Manuel, and my mom's name is Ella Mae (yes, it's all her first name, and yes, it's two words). They're both in their 70s and they've been married 40-some-odd years (I forget exactly, but they're not too too far away from 50).
Sadly, my dad's health has really declined in the last 10 years or so, and most in the last 5-7. He has diabetes, is legally blind, and is on dialysis several times a week. My dad has had a lot of different jobs over the years, the biggest being a manager of a rice and cattle farm in Costa Rica for 18 years. The most recent was as a nursing home administrator (though it's been a few years for that). When he was young, he went to SMU on a full scholarship and graduated in 3 1/2 years (which is why all the kids in my family that could have gotten degrees). I could go on and on about the interesting person that he is, but I don't want this blog post to be so long! ^_^ But, I will say, my dad is a very, very spiritual person. He has had some important positions in our church and is very well respected by many in the church. And out.
I don't have a lot in common with my dad, but I still love him nonetheless. And, cool fact: my dad actually got to marry me and Brian. ^_^
Now, my mom -- she's a saint! I'll tell you why in a moment, but I will say that I am very much like her. When I still lived at home, people would get us confused on the phone. We have many similar mannerisms and say things in a similar way. We also have a similar sense of humor. She sews and plays the piano and she loves cats. She also loves to read (though she hasn't done it as much lately).
Now I will tell you why she's a saint. Not only does my mom still work part time as a physical therapist (which, btw, after we came back to the states, she had to go back to work and got her license again -- after being out of that world for almost 20 years!), but she takes care of my dad. She takes him to his appointments (medical and other) and basically has to do a lot for him since he's almost blind. She has to completely devote her time to him and very rarely gets away. (The last time she had a vacation was probably about 5 years ago, when we all went to Orlando to visit and have Christmas with my oldest brother who was working there at the time. Since then Dad's gone downhill.) But wait, there's more. I have a mentally disabled sister, who is in her 40s, and has lived all her life with my parents. She's mostly a functioning individual, and if you met her briefly, you might think she's almost normal, but, unfortunately, she's not. So, my mom has to take care of her somewhat as well (thankfully, nothing medical yet). So, my mom is a wife, homemaker, breadwinner, caregiver, chauffeur, mother with one that will always be with her (most likely), housekeeper, bill payer, and yet she still finds time to do things at church and go to my younger brother's and babysit his children one day a week while my sis-in-law works. Oh, and remember, she's in her early 70s!
I frankly don't know how she does it. And she's so sweet! And kind. I never hear her complain. And she always does for and gives to her children. She never asks for anything in return, and when she does ask for help, it's usually with a thought that she really doesn't want to bother us. I cannot tell you how much I love her, appreciate her and admire her for the person she is and for how she lives her life. Gah! Now I'm gonna cry. So, it's time to POST. ^_^