Words cannot express how thankful I am to have been raised by my parents. There are too many adults my age dealing with various issues because of their childhood upbringing. Now, I'm not saying that my parents were perfect, because they were far from it, but they tried so hard to give me a wonderful childhood. They had their fair share of "issues" when I was younger (mostly stuff I don't remember) but they stayed together, and worked things out. Sadly, my father passed away in 2005, leaving my mom widowed and alone (I was living in an apartment at the time, with my ex and my son (who was around 3 at the time).
Honestly, to this day I believe that everything happens for a reason. While my parents brought me up to respect myself enough to wait for marriage, I strayed a bit in my teenage years, and wound up pregnant at 17. Now, am I saying that God planned for me to be a 17 year old mother in an unhealthy relationship? No, but I believe that things happened so that my dad could have a grandchild before he passed. He got to spend 3 years with my son, and strangely enough (or miraculously?) at 10 years old, my son remembers his grandpop from his babyhood/toddler-hood and I believe that it has helped form him into the awesome kid he is today.
Towards the end, I wasn't very close with my parents due to my depression. I can honestly say that I don't even remember the last year or so of my father's life, and that's been difficult for me to write or talk about... I blocked a lot out from the first few years of my son's life, and that hurts too. I think the depression was both from the fact that I was in an unhappy relationship and also that my father passed away so suddenly, and I never really had a chance to say goodbye.
Over the years though, I have forgiven myself and realize that time can't be rewound. I can only move forward and make the most of life now. Family is precious and we should cherish and love them. My mom now lives with my husband, children, and I. Lots of people think that "living with in-laws" doesn't work out, but this setup is great for us. My mom isn't lonely, she gets to spend lots of time with her grandchildren, and in turn we get the joy of her company as well. She is a wonderful and selfless person who loves the Lord and has much wisdom about life to offer.
I can't make a post about parents though without including my mother-in-law. She has truly been like a second mother to me over the past 6 years. Ever since I met her, she has been nothing but wonderful to my son and I. She is a great Noña to him and is thrilled that she now has a beautiful granddaughter to enjoy also! She raised my husband into the wonderful man that he is today, and continues to be a strong, inspirational role model in his life.
In closing, I believe that we are given the parents (or parental-figures) that we have for a reason. The impact they make on us, whether positive, negative, or whatever it may be, helps to shape us into who we are today and what kind of parents/spouses we will become. This can teach us a valuable lesson too though, because as parents, our children are watching us and learning from us, we are shaping them for the future, just as our parents did with us!