Appreciation

I’m in a little lull between final exams– finished grading what I have, waiting for more to come in. I’m getting a little of my sanity back. In these past few days I’ve been thinking about the people who are important in my life but who rarely hear it from me because it’s not the sort of thing we talk about, so here goes:

My father. I owe him some of my best qualities: patience, curiosity, a Horatian kindness in the face of human foibles, a love of terrible puns (some may quibble on the “bestness” of this quality). I learned so much from him when I was young, without even realizing I was learning anything. Lately I’ve been noticing how much I have become like him, from the little things like how I fold my hands at the table when I’ve finished dinner to the big things like how I muse and doodle my way to the solutions to my problems. If I have anything I can call wisdom, it is because I learned it from my father.

My mother. If my father made me wise, my mother made me smart. I have never seen her face a problem she couldn’t solve, all with self-possession and confidence. I don’t have her gifts for dealing with people (or with plants, though I keep at it), but she taught me to think on my feet, to get up and try again, to make do with what I have but to keep trying to make myself better. I would like to think that I have inherited some of her roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done-ness (though, sometimes I could use a little more of it). I am a better, happier, more successful person because of all that my mother has done for me.

My sister. I always looked up to her, and I still do. She went first into everything and I followed, hoping to live up to her example. We had our fights when we were very small, like all siblings do, but we grew out of that pretty quickly and she was the big sister everyone should be lucky enough to have: smart, supportive, and fun to be with. I miss our long, meandering, sometimes giggly talks in the kitchen late into the night. We have ended up living in different places and working in different, though related, areas, but she is still the person I look up to and think: “I’m gonna be like her someday.”

My family-in-law. From the moment I arrived in the Helsinki airport for the first time and found one of my future sisters-in-law waiting to greet me and help get me to the train station, I have felt nothing but welcomed and loved in my new family. They have spoken English for me and tolerated my halting Finnish, fed me delicious food and sent me licorice for Christmas, even as I took their daughter/big sister away to a faraway land. They have always made me feel at home, even when it must have been hard to do, and I am so grateful for all of it.

There are many others who could, and by all rights should, be on this list, but these are the people I’ve been thinking of lately. I love you all and am grateful to have you in my life.

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2 Responses to “Appreciation”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Erik, you’ve got me all teary. How sweet. Thank you. Love, Mom

  2. Lii Says:

    You lovely, lovely man – thank you for finding your way into all our lives. ❤

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