Our house is wonderfully warm right now, thanks to my parents. When our furnace died on Wednesday, I had described the problem to them, and told my father that we had removed the igniter from the furnace in hopes of getting a replacement on Thursday (we knew the problem was the igniter based on the trouble code the furnace had been flashing).
My parents called back that evening and said that they were going to come to our house the next day to help us fix the furnace. They asked me to email them a picture of the ingiter that we had removed, and determined from the picture that we had actually taken out the flame sensor, not the igniter (good thing we checked…) I was scheduled to work a full day at the library on Thursday, and had thought I’d have to go in late or leave early in order to go get the new igniter (since my husband still can’t drive because his knee is in a brace), but my parents did all the running around for us.
They showed up at our house on Thursday morning, checked the various parts of the furnace, confirmed that the problem was indeed the igniter, and went and got a new one. They had it installed and everything working perfectly long before I got home from work. Both my husband and I were able to put in a full day’s work on Thursday, and our furnace is working perfectly.
We paid my parents back for the furnace igniter, but how do you put a price on everything else? The 90 minute drive – each way – to come to our house for a day? The crawling around under the house checking the furnace and installing the new part? The driving around to find the new part? The dropping everything and coming to rescue their pregnant daughter and hobbling son-in-law from a very cold house? You really can’t, because it’s so much more than money.
When I was a child, we never had fancy birthday parties or extravagant Christmases. We didn’t do birthday presents at all, and I think the only reason we did Christmas presents was because my parents didn’t want us to go back to school and have to explain that we didn’t get anything. They stopped doing Christmas presents entirely when we were out of high school. We didn’t get cars for our 16th birthdays. We did our back to school shopping in thrift stores, and we didn’t ever go to the mall. Instead of trying to show love by buying us things, my parents showed us that they loved us by always being there for us. That’s easy to say, but not as easy to do.
I’ve tried to be very independent for a lot of years now. I stopped relying on my parents financially when I was 19. But we talk nearly every day, and I know that whenever the chips are down, they will be there for me, and for my siblings. And of course it helps that they’re both very handy and can fix just about anything…
This is the kind of parent I want to be. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on my child, just as we don’t spend a lot of money on ourselves. But I want our child to know that we will always do whatever we can to help out when times are tough. And if that means that 30 years from now we get to spend a day crawling around under a house trying to fix a furnace, I’ll be glad to give it my best shot.