One of the nicest arguments I’ve ever been a part of occurred on set this summer, with a hairstylist and a makeup artist. This was a mature, respectful version of “my mom/dad is cooler than your mom/dad, nah nah nah boo boo!” So, for this month’s edition of Top Ten Tuesday, I’m listing the reasons why I will win this contest against anyone, anytime. With the omission of some of obvious gifts, like long fingers and specific words of wisdom and height (#irony), here is a list of things my parents gave me that prove they totally rock.
1. GOOD GENES
I definitely use great products, and I do my best to get reasonable amounts of sleep, and both of these habits help keep me youthful and fabulous. But honestly, I got some really good DNA too! The first thing people notice about my mother and father is how young they look.
Dad and I at TIFF 2014
Mom and I at a cousin’s wedding, September 2014
I am eternally grateful to them for passing these genes on to their offspring, as evinced in the fact that someone canvassing me for a donation to TVO last weekend had to stop and ask if I’m 18 yet.
2. MUSICAL TALENT
Music runs in my veins on both sides. From my parents (a drummer and singer, and a flutist) to their parents and siblings and beyond, it’s in my DNA.
Dad performing at the 2009 Arcadia Showcase
My maternal grandmother even released a cassette of her original Christmas-themed Calypso songs in the 1990s.
3. MUSICAL APPRECIATION
Nope, not a repeat of #2. I grew up on oldies. I wasn’t even allowed to decide what music I wanted to hear until I was a tween. Sure, I was last to learn any of the words to “Juicy” by Biggie Smalls, but I still know all the words to “Juicy Fruit” (which “Juicy” sampled).
Mtume was and still is the jam.
4. EARLY AND FREQUENT EXPOSURE TO BOOKS
. . . lots of them!! I remember Mom pointing at the words in my storybooks as she read, guiding me to recognize the words instead of just hearing the sounds. I’m told that I started reading on my own at the age of 3, sounding out the word “Batman” on the back of a cereal box. Dad is forever tossing me books to read (y’know, like Roots when I was 12 years old).
My current reading situation
Leaders are readers . . . I will always be a very proud Nerd Word!
My parents made sure I knew how to use the TTC even though most of my suburban neighbours didn’t. I started working at 15. I paid my way through university with awards and scholarships.
Jogging. In a desert. In Dubai. Alone. Why not.
There have been times I’ve wished some of the above things weren’t the case, but overall I’m so grateful.
Man, I never even had a curfew.
My first time taking a solo vacation; Cuba =)
My parents trusted not only me but their own parenting skills enough to trust that I would make good choices, for the most part. And, for the most part, I think they would agree that I did. Good job, Mom and Dad!
7. YOUNG PARENTS
. . . especially in the case of Mama Dukes, who chauffeured my friends and I to and from clubs starting back when I was 14. (Relax; these were all-ages events.) My parents had me during the year they turned 22, and I felt like they were so much more relevant to and understanding of my life as a young person than most of the parents of my friends, who were older.
Honestly. They look like teenagers. YOUNG teenagers.
I did want to start having children when I was in my super-early twenties too . . . ah well, can’t win ‘em all =)
8. THE TRAVEL BUG
Not only have my parents always encouraged me to travel, I sometimes get to travel with one of them, and sometimes they even foot the bill!
Here they are almost a year ago, seeing me off as I set out to spend 6 months in the United Arab Emirates
Ooooh, I am so glad I didn’t get parents of the “it’s a big bad scary world so stay home” variety.
9. THE BEST EXTENDED FAMILIES I COULD ASK FOR
I mean, did I win a birth lottery somehow??? I am SO blessed to be the daughter of my parents and the granddaughter of my grandparents, the niece of my aunts and uncles and the great-niece of my great-aunts and great-uncles, and the cousin of my cousins.
A rare family photo; almost all of my Mom’s mom’s family in one shot, minus the great-grandbabies =)
My only gripe about my family is that not a single one of them live even remotely near New York City. (Apparently a college professor who shares my surname is there, but we’ve never met, so . . .)
10. THE GET-OVER-IT GENE
Not that my life has been rocked by (m)any catastrophes, but one event which was painful and difficult to get over was the end of my parents’ marriage. People are constantly surprised at how well my mom and dad, who split up more than 20 years ago, get along with each other today. This was just one of the ways they taught me what to do with obstacles, challenges, “hurtful” events: get past, through, over, and/or around them.
Lesson learned, you two.
I hope I can be half as amazing when it’s my turn to raise children. <3