I couldn’t imagine life without my parents.
I couldn’t imagine my first anything without them.
I couldn’t imagine mentioning them in the past tense.
I couldn’t imagine saying what they used to say.
I couldn’t imagine my sadness when my last shopping trip for my mom included paying for her funeral expenses.
I couldn’t imagine my holiday plans not involving spending time at home with them or having them at my house with me.
I couldn’t imagine being separated from the sound of their laughter while we looked at old pictures of us in outfits we thought were so cool and hip.
I couldn’t imagine that my parents would miss high school and college graduations of my children.
I couldn’t imagine that so many people and relationships in my life were connected to them and their presence.
I couldn’t imagine that I would ever miss my dad slurping the last sip of coffee or soda just to aggravate me because he knew how much I hated for people to make noises when they ate.
I couldn’t imagine missing the “shh, shh, shh” from my mother when I discussed anything she didn’t want to hear about or that she didn’t want to talk about.
I couldn’t imagine life without their smiles and hugs whenever I returned home to visit them.
I couldn’t imagine life without them having all of the things we liked at the house whenever they knew we were coming to visit – chocolate cake, pound cake, chocolate ice cream, Coca-Cola, bacon, grits, and a host of other foods dipped in grease.
I couldn’t imagine purging through their things and trying to decide what to do with all they treasured and left behind.
I couldn’t imagine that I would ever appreciate my dad’s curfew rule that, “Young women know what time a young woman should be home.” Oh the pressure!
I couldn’t imagine the cool memories and practical lessons I would learn while I helped my dad refurbish the old boat he towed from Hartford to Montgomery and that old beat up white van he bought for $500 because he always dreamed of owning a boat and a motor home.
I couldn’t imagine that their stories about living through segregation and the integration of public places and schools would still be a relevant conversation after they were gone.
I couldn’t imagine that I would have to trust my memory to recall the lessons they taught me because I wouldn’t be able to ask them to repeat the lessons to me again.
I couldn’t imagine that I would wish that my father could be alive to see the advancements in technology because he absolutely love working on the televisions, being the first to have the latest electronic invention, and his passion for HAM radio was evident in his car and my first bedroom that he converted into his office.
I couldn’t imagine that my father’s instincts with electronics would live in my son.
I couldn’t imagine that my daughter would house my mother’s pensive, classic presence that allowed her to show up and own a situation, social or professional, in a meaningful and purposeful way that was not aimed at diminishing the strengths of anyone else.
I couldn’t imagine what a wonderful blend of my parents I would see in my children who are smart, witty, socially conscious, caring, well-spoken, respectful, global thinkers who are also easy on the eyes.
I couldn’t imagine the parenting lessons I would later grasp from my dad’s genius move of teaching me to fish at pond where they raised catfish – the art of baiting the hook, how to cast the line, to reel in the catch, and how to enjoy the moments that you spend waiting.
I couldn’t imagine how my daddy’s quotes would still make me laugh after all the years he’s been gone.
I couldn’t imagine how alone I would feel when they were both gone.
Now, I can’t imagine having any other people as my parents.
Now, I can’t imagine my life without their love and support.
Now, I can’t imagine my existence without the lessons they taught me.
Now, I can’t imagine learning from my mom that quiet strength and well-timed comments are critical.
Now, I can’t imagine my conversations without my dad’s comedic timing.
Now, I can’t imagine being a villager to others without the compassion and nurturing spirit of my parents.
Now, I can’t imagine what I would have done if mama hadn’t answered the phone to gossip and giggle with me about whatever the subject was that day.
Now, I can’t imagine life without my dad’s directive to ask because I have a fifty percent chance of getting what I want or need.
Now, I can’t imagine my life without their guidance and encouragement to dream outside the village.
Now, I can’t imagine life without the benefits of the higher education they encouraged me to seek and then helped me finance.
Now, I can’t imagine missing the lessons on screw drivers, lawn mowers, and basic car knowledge I learned while hanging out in the yard with my dad.
Now, I can’t imagine learning from Mama that “Everything ain’t for everybody,” especially where the wardrobe is concerned.
Now, I can’t imagine life without Daddy’s lesson to treat everyone the same because “We all put our pants on one leg at a time.”
Now, I can’t imagine life without my parents’ lesson to take good care of those “who cook, clean, and take care of stuff around you because they know stuff and they will look out for you.”
Now, I can’t imagine life without the memories of dancing to big band music and blues with my dad and smiling now because I am comfortable dancing and singing whenever and wherever the music makes my soul smile.
Now, I can’t imagine thinking about learning the art and therapy of shopping from my mom and accepting that I am still unable to achieve her diva status that included coordinated outfits every day at home and on the go.
Now, I can’t imagine walking through life without remembering my dad’s lesson that, “my rights end where the next person’s rights begin.”
Now, I can’t imagine my life without learning the art of people watching from my parents that could generated gut wrenching laughs especially when the master of the art, my dad, was providing the narratives and commentary.
Now, I can’t imagine not understanding the necessity in life to laugh at myself, laugh through my pain and challenges, and to just find reasons to laugh until it hurts with people I know well and those who are new to the village.
Now, I can’t imagine being raised by the guy who wouldn’t give money for good grades because “You are expected to make good grades.”
Now, I can’t imagine life without parents who opened their home often with little notice to provide shelter, food, fellowship and a stable environment to most of the folks who needed it whether they were family members trying to finish college or kids in need of sitters while their single moms looked for work, or folks who just needed a place to hang out to watch Ali fight while they enjoyed food, a shot of something to warm their spirits and a cigarette from my daddy’s pack of Kool’s.
Now, I can’t imagine my life without the character check my dad gave me my freshman year of college: “Don’t become the people you don’t like.”
Now, I can’t imagine life without the lesson I learned to work at my craft and be really good at the things I know.
Now, I can’t imagine the lesson I learned from my parents to welcome the knowledge and expertise of others in areas I am not well-versed in to further the cause and the mission.
Now, I can’t imagine living life without their legacy of class, compassion, dedication, hard work, strength, humor, dreams, and the mission of being an excellent villager. #Lola&Charles