I'm awesome. Notwithstanding my (many) weaknesses and limitations, I am subjectively pretty great. I love myself. I try a little harder every day to do a little bit better than before. And I'm not just saying this because it's what I believe. I'm also told how awesome I am on a somewhat regular basis by strangers, acquaintances, friends, family and close friends.
In fact, sometimes it's hard not to buy into the hype and the seemingly endless compliments that flow my way. It would be easy for me to believe that I am amazing, wonderful, awesome and great. Nearly everyone says it! And I'm not saying that I'm not these things, but I am saying that I get too much credit for it.
Have you ever heard the phrase, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"? I identify with this quote so much. I am who I am today because of the giants whom I stand on: my wonderful parents.
Kim: the Origin Story
When I was born, my parents were still teenagers. (My dad turned 20 less than a month after my birthday, but still.) I guess it was a good thing, because as a very small child, I needed young parents who wouldn't be as worn out by my refusal to sleep. In spite of being a difficult child – and the fact that I didn't make any aspect of parenting easy for them – they loved me, educated me, and gave me strength all through growing up.
|My super young and pretty parents and me as a baby|
|My 4th birthday. I thought it was the best day of my life!|
In third grade, my teacher (who shall remain nameless) actually told my parents she thought I was mentally retarded, and should be moved to the special education classes. My parents – ever my fiercest champions – told her that she was wrong. They requested that I should be individually tested by the school psychologist. My IQ was easily within genius levels. Instead of going to special education classes, I was put into honors classes. I never knew what my teacher thought of me until I was an adult. My parents helped me to reach my educational potential.
|My third grade class picture. Teacher’s name and face redacted.|
When I was a high schooler, I also made parenting me a nightmare. Despite being tested to their limits dealing with my rebel yell, I never doubted their love or concern for me. A year after graduating high school, I became permanently paralyzed from the shoulders down because of a car accident. I was in the hospital for almost 5 straight months. During that time, my parents made sure that I always had someone with me around the clock. I feel like it was one of them a lot of the time. Was this a huge sacrifice? I can't even begin to say how much it was. However, I was never made to feel like it was a burden, or like they were unwillingly doing it in any way.
|I look so sweet as a teenager! Looks can be deceiving!|
Their Continuing Greatness
In a little less than four months, I will "celebrate" the 19th anniversary of my accident. I have been unable to do a single physical thing for myself for nearly 19 years. My parents have selflessly served me on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, for nearly 2 decades! In the time that I have been paralyzed, I have earned four different postsecondary degrees, including a Masters degree. I could never have done any of these things without their physical, emotional and spiritual support and encouragement.
Not only does my mom help me every single day in physical ways that tax her aging body, but she does so cheerfully without complaint, only worrying that she is not caring for me enough! She is also one of my best friends! I love the amount of time I am able to spend with her, watching shows or visiting our favorite place, Disneyland. How did I get so lucky?
|My mom and I at Disneyland last year!|
After a hard day's work, including a commuting time of 3+ hours, my dad nearly always puts me to bed. He says that it takes only five minutes, so it is no big deal. He is wrong, of course. It takes closer to 25 minutes, and it is a big deal! I can't even count the amount of times he has put me in bed, way past his bedtime (sometimes after he has already gone to sleep for the night), because I have been out late. He does this daily. Without complaint. (I'm not even mentioning the dozens of other things he does on the regular not just to minister to my needs, but also my wants.) Seriously, how did I get so lucky?
|My dad and I in 1993. I guess I don’t regularly get pictures of us together!|
Their Amazingness Reflected
You would think with how much they love and care for me, that I'd have to be an only child, with how much time I take up. However, they have SIX other kids that they love, strengthen and care for just as much as they do for me. They constantly make themselves available for their children, and grandchildren (18.5 of them).
|My immediate family in 1994.|
Their constant, selfless sacrifice and service on behalf of their family is a huge example to me and to everyone. Unlike me, they don't get a barrage of compliments and praise for how awesome they are. (Even though they very much deserve it!) They quietly and humbly perform countless acts of service with never even a thought of receiving recognition for doing so. I do my best to thank them every time they help me, but I sometimes feel like it is not enough!
So, to conclude this entry, I just have to say that their awesomeness is reflected in all of the amazing things that I do. And when I receive compliments or praise for my actions, I feel it is (or should be) magnified back to the giants on whose shoulders I am standing!
|My parents with me at SeaWorld 2014.|