With Many Thanks

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” Theodore Roosevelt  

Last week I went to a friend’s celebration of life. A number of people spoke about the impact my friend had had on their lives. Each eloquent speech reiterated who he was—inclusive, loving, funny, sometimes crass and always genuinely interested in the other person’s point of view. And in the male dominated work I was doing back then, my friend and colleague treated me like an equal and that wasn’t always the case with others. But that’s another story.

His daughter also spoke. Her memories of her father were summed up in what she said he used to tell her, “If someone asks you for anything and you can give it, give it freely.”

These words reminded me of my own parents who taught, and more importantly showed me by example, how to be. Our kitchen table at times was surrounded with strangers my father had adopted: a colleague going through a divorce, another new to the city. And my mother used to send me off to school with extra sandwiches and treats for kids she thought didn’t have enough.

So on this Father’s day and with what would have been my mother’s 87th birthday just around the corner, I give thanks to my parents and the lessons they taught me. Who would I have been without them? It’s frightening to contemplate.

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