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Love and Marriage Article
Parents and the Holidays

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

A parent’s love is with you everywhere.  Every time you are far from home you are never alone.  Your parents are always with you.  They think about you.  They worry about you.  They always love you.  They love you no matter what. 

Truth is, most parents have unconditional love for their children – no matter the age of the parents or the children. 

Charley’s Dad, rest his soul, died nearly three years ago when he was 88 years old.  He was fond of telling Charley almost to the day that he died that he loved him and that he always worried about him.  No matter how old Charley got, he knew his Dad was thinking about him.  Worrying about him.  Praying that he was safe – free from harm.

You see, there is so much more to parenting than bringing you into this world, feeding you, nurturing you, sheltering you, providing for your needs, educating you, worrying about you, and sacrificing for you.  Parents love their children more than life itself and would gladly give theirs to save their child.

The problem so often in life, however, is that so many children do not appreciate their parents until they are gone – until they no longer exist on God’s earth.  For a child there is so much for which to be thankful.  Too often they discover this too late.  Which brings us to today’s important message.

In our hundreds of interviews over the years for our book, Golden Anniversaries:  The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage, we have heard so many, many positive stories about successful love and relationships.  All too often, however, we hear happily married couples lament about their adult children’s lack of understanding when it comes to the importance of coming “home for the Holidays” – of being with them at Christmas, Hanukah, Thanksgiving, and on their Anniversary. There is a recurring theme and it goes like this – while we love our children we are disappointed in the many excuses they give us as to why they can’t be home for the Holidays or for important anniversaries.

Frankly, in the early years of our marriage we were guilty of the same transgressions when it came to our parents.  However, after a few years we began to see the hurt it caused them when we didn’t show up for those important milestones in their lives – those important Holidays.

Charley remembers so well those many Thanksgivings watching football games with his Dad.  And the Thanksgiving Day in 1989 when Charley’s Dad handed him the railroad watch he had worn in his pocket for 47 years – well, it was all Charley could do to hold back the tears.  His Dad told Charley by that simple act how much he loved him and how much he cared for him.  More importantly, Charley’s Dad told him that day how proud of him he was.  Even today when Charley tells that story to his friends and family his eyes welt up with tears – tears of love and joy.

Liz remembers her mother, Elizabeth, so well.  Her mother inspired her.  Her Mother loved her unconditionally.  Her mother gave her the blessings so necessary for her to marry Charley.  And she died only a few months later.  It broke Liz’s heart.  All the things she wanted to tell her Mother.  Now, it was too late.  Now she only tells her Mother the things she wanted to say in her prayers at night.  We have heard so many tell similar stories.

You see, the sad truth is, everybody passes from this Earth.  Everybody dies.  Every parent dies.  And if we are lucky, we get to spend as much time with them as we can.  All too often we do not.

Our message today is this – spend as much time with your parents throughout your life as you possibly can.  When they are gone, there are no more Holidays with them; no more Anniversaries with them, and no more time to tell them you love them.

Recently, we wrote an article entitled, Home For The Holidays.  One of the lines from that article read as follows: “The Holiday Season reminds us all of what we have come to call ‘the caveats of life and love.’ Namely, people need love, they need family, they need friends, and they need someone to give their love to. Make no mistake about it – people need people. People need to love and to be loved.”  We would offer that parents especially need YOUR love – especially during the Holidays.

This Holiday Season go visit your parents if you are lucky enough to still have them.  Give them a big hug.  Tell them you love them.  Thank them for all they have done for you.  Promise them you will be there for them like they have always been there for you.  Tell them they will become one of your priorities in life and love.

Parents and Holidays – enjoy them while you have them.  Enjoy your parents while they share the Earth with you.  Spend those important Holidays with them.  You will never regret it.

Go in love and peace during the Holiday Season.

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