I remember when I was about to turn 16, my parents and I started looking for a car. At the time, the Pontiac Sunfire was a really popular car...especially for kids. I was totally opposed to it. Why? Because it had daytime running lights. I thought that was totally uncool. Isn't that so silly? Oh man, the mind of a 15 year old. I didn't know then how easy life was back then. Running lights? Really? That's what I was worried about? My parents of course liked the idea because it was for safety. I think at the time, daytime running lights were a new concept. I just didn't get it...why would I want lights that I couldn't turn off? That didn't make sense. Who cares about safety, I thought. It's all about looking cool. Well, I didn't end up getting that Sunfire. My first car was a Mustang...I drove that car for 9 years. I am not a sentimental person, but when I think about that car...gosh, I LOVED that car. I think about this memory and it makes me laugh. I was being such a brat...meanwhile, my parents were thinking about how to keep me safe. That's what it's about, you know; being a parent. After I had my daughter, I'll never forget the overwhelming feeling I had come over me. It is something that I really can't explain. It was like I had been bee-bopping around living for me (for 26 years), and then all of a sudden, this person entered my life. A person who I knew I would throw myself in front of a bus for. That is a crazy type of love. So self-sacraficing, unconditional. I mean, you love your spouse...but it is not the same as the love you have for your child. They are part of you. Part of you runs through them. It was a feeling that was really hard for me to deal with in the beginning. Gosh, there were no baby books to prepare me for that feeling. I wanted to protect her from everything. Could I install running lights on her forehead? That way people would always see her coming. People won't bump into her, I will always be able to see her, she will never get lost. But that is just not the way life works. That is not what it is like to be a parent. Our kids do get hurt...and sometimes they make the wrong choices.
I think about the choices I have made in my life. I still can't imagine how conflicted my parents must have felt while I worked my way up the ladder of Planned Parenthood. My parents always taught me to be independent, to have a strong work ethic, to be a leader. And, that's what I was doing. I was pouring my life into this organization that they despised. But, they were always proud of me. Always proud of my accomplishments. When I received the "employee of the year" award, I called them first...and they were proud. When I found out I would be sitting with Hillary Clinton at the PPFA national conference, I called them first...and they were proud. When I got the promotion to Health Center Director, I called them first...and they were proud. They were always proud...proud of me...not necessarily proud of my work. Where were those running lights? :) Where were those signs telling me that I was headed down a road that wasn't safe, that wouldn't be good for me? I saw them, but ignored them. The lights didn't help. The horns didn't help. Only the voice of Christ could penetrate my heart. He was the only one that could bust through the static and sound clear. But where would I be now without that strong foundation given to me by my parents? I wouldn't have known to even open my heart and my ears to hear the voice of Christ without that foundation. Our kids deserve that. They deserve more. They deserve our all. They deserve more than just that feeling of protection...we have to act. We have to be proactive when it comes to our kids. Unfortunately, our kids don't come with built in running lights...we have to be the light for them.