Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Special Thanks!

Dear Readers,

I'd like to move away from the usual posts about my travels and turn my attention on something more deserving at the moment. After my last post ($400 Pair of Shoes) I feel it necessary to give a special thanks to some of the most amazing people in my life. My parents.

My last post reminded me of what a wonderful family I am blessed with. I know I often take them for granted, but today I want to give them a special shout out (Woot woot)! I am not a parent, and I can't imagine what it will be like to someday be one. However, I pray I will be as good of a parent as my mother and father are to me and my sister.

Working at a private international school I have seen parents completely detached in children's lives. They are precious years that do not last. Like I said in $400 Pair of Shoes, bodyguards and drivers drop off students, pick them up, are hired to go to parent teacher conferences to hear about student progress, and rarely are there more than a few parents sitting on the sidelines to cheer on their children. While I would attend sporting events to support my students, I would fondly reminisce about parent involvement in my life. Growing up, the best thing my parents ever gave me was not my Nintendo 63, bike, or Jnco jeans (Hey, come on, at one point in time they were the in thing and every child desperately "needed" a pair!). The best and most memorable thing my parents gave me was their time. I have to say I agree with this quote, "Children desire their parent's presence over their presents."

My father works with the US Forest Service. During fire season my dad would be away from home traveling and protecting our country's forests. Unfortunately fire season is always in summer when I would be on school vacation. The thing I always wanted to do most during the summer was travel to California to see my grandparents and to go fishing with my dad. I remember times my dad would take me to the Arkansas River in Colorado and go fishing! Of course, any day out fishing with my dad is one of the greatest days of my life! I just love spending quality time together with little distractions, digging up grub worms, catching grasshoppers (yeah.... I don't think I am a 'typical' girl), listening to the roar of the river as the water poured over exposed rocks, and learning from my daddy how to catch..... not fish. I learned there is a big difference in the two terms. Dad and I don't go fishin' we go catchin'!

One special fishing trip when I was about 12 years old my dad invited me to go fishing... oops, I mean catching with a him and one of his work buddies. It was one of the greatest honors! We hiked down to the river bank and dad helped tie a worm to my hook. He told me where to cast my line. It landed in the exact spot and immediately a large trout took the bait! I shouted back to dad, "I got one! I got one!" It took him a minute to realize I wasn't kidding. As soon as it hit the water I had a keeper! Dad was so proud of me and he never hesitated showing it!

Dad was away for work often, and when I was younger that would upset me. I wanted him to be home. Now that I am older I can look back and see just how much he poured into us kids when he was home. Work might have been demanding on his time in the summer, but when he was home, he was never an absent father. He was a loving, proud daddy.

Some of my most cherished memories of my dad was when I was in high school. I was on the track and cross country team. Dad's office was around the corner from my school. There was a period of time where we would ride into school and work together. I loved our morning drives. He would talk to me about running and strategy. He was my favorite coach!

The time I am most thankful for with my dad was the day I had a very important race. Nothing has quite communicated to me that I matter and how much I am loved than this moment. During this race my father was in New York for work. He flew home to Colorado to watch my race and then later returned to New York to finish his work. Wow! I don't think I've ever truly told you, dad, how much that meant to me. It almost makes me cry now just thinking about it.

My parents are truly amazing! My mother is a braveheart! She would always tell me, "Do as I say not as I do!" I can't say I agree with this. I believe that children should do as we say and as we do. I agree most with this quote, "Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate." Although my mom would say "do not do as I do", it was by watching her 'do' that I have learned many great life lessons. For one: Always stand up for what you believe!

As a little girl in elementary school I can remember the time my mom pulled over the car and confronted a man when she saw him tie up a dog with a chicken around it's neck. The man was aiming his shotgun at the dog and my mom was not going to have it! Now, for many of us walking up to a man with a gun who is outraged that his dog is eating his chickens just seems plain foolish (sorry mom), but for a young girl it also was a bold statement to stand up for rights of others, stand up for what you believe in and do what is the right thing to do. Sometimes, even if it does seem silly.

My mom has also showed this strength in a 4 year battle with a nursing home that killed my papa (grandpa). Long story short he died a very painful, and wrongful death by fault of the home and sever neglect. He had Alzheimer's. A lawyer approached my mom and told her she has a very strong case and should pursue it. She had two choices: not pursue, put the past behind and allow herself to mourn and heal. Or, pursue the case against the home and ignite change. My mom's whole goal in the case was never money. She passionately and painfully challenged the nursing home to add a registered RN to the Alzheimer's floor full time at all times. And that is exactly what happened. My mom and Papa won. She had indeed sacrificed a large sum payment, and instead focused on once again standing up for what she believed and what was right. The home has enforced a full time RN at all times 24/7. Way to go mom! We are all proud of you!

I've always loved time with my mom. When I lived at home I would look forward to going shopping, out to eat and then to a movie. Even though I hated shopping (yeah, again, I don't think I am typical girl!) I loved the long days with my mom.

My name is Kristen LeAnn Runyan, I am the daughter of Michael and Debra Burchard. Through typing I cannot express the tone of my pride when I say that. Throughout my life many of my friends have mentioned that they wanted to be adopted into my family. And, in fact, many of them have been! It is a good family to be a member of! I love my parents and continue to cherish all our time together! Here is a special thanks to a special couple who enhance every day of my life! Thanks mom and dad! Can't wait for more cherished memories!


Carolyn said...

What an heartfelt tribute Kristen...I totally agree, your parents are awesome!!

Anonymous said...

You brought tears to my eyes! Good post! You are awesome, and it sounds like much of that is attributed to your parents. God bless!

Kim and Brian said...

Wow! That made a bit squishy. You are right Kris, Mom and Dad are my heroes as well; they always have been and always will be. I agree with what you said about dad. I remember him being gone a lot when I was growing up, but that made every moment we spent together that much more special and memorable. Way to say it lady! Kim