I remember when Phyllis Quanbeck, my high school drama teacher, told our class: “Choose your parents well!”
Obviously none of us usually have much choice in the matter, but despite that minor detail, I ended up with fabulous parents. My siblings and I weren’t awful kids...but we certainly were not what you’d call low-maintenance. No matter what kind of curve ball we threw at them, our parents never flinched. To this day they are actively involved in each of our lives. Of course they take great delight in their grandkids, and now that they have a great-granddaughter, they've got a whole new person to be excited about.
Here they are with Nat a few years back on one of our family trips to Sunriver, Oregon. They made sure we had a family vacation there every single summer for over 30 years. I realize now what a gift that was. We can blame them for my obsession with bikes; Sunriver has an amazing network of bike paths, and Central Oregon is a mecca for road and mountain biking. Our vacations were filled with riding bikes, playing tennis, and canoeing on the river. In between the big family outings, I was constantly on my bike by myself.
Every family trip certainly had its share of challenges: arguments, sunburns, sick kids, even a couple of forest fire scares...but those have all faded for me. What remains clearest are the memories of laughing, togetherness, evening talent shows, and trips to Goody’s Ice Cream with the whole crew. And of course, in the middle of all those memories are my unwavering, ever-present parents.
Thanks, Mom and Dad! I chose you well! Maybe now I can go back to Mrs. Quanbeck and get that "A."