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My Greatest Role Models

by Meghann on November 13, 2012

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My mom and dad have the classic high school sweetheart story. They met in Mr. Heil’s U.S. History class their junior year of high school (the same Mr. Heil I had for U.S. History exactly 21 years later) and started dating shortly thereafter. My dad was the self proclaimed high school band geek who worked long hours at his dad’s shop after school and my mom was the rebel with a motorcycle who waited tables on the weekends. They quickly fell in love and started to plan a future together.

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My dad proposed with a chicken puppet (yes, a chicken puppet) the December before they graduated and, eleven months later, they became man and wife. My mom was just barely 18, having only celebrated her 18th birthday 2 months prior, and my dad just three months shy of his 20th birthday. They were young, incredibly young, and had the odds stacked against them.

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Still, they pushed on. My dad worked full time at my grandfather’s business (bringing home only $600 a month), and my mom helped out when she could. In 1985, they welcomed a happy and healthy set of twins into their lives (my brother and I) and life got crazy. My dad continued to work long hours and my mom stayed home to be with us. Two years later my little sister was born, and two years after that (in 1989) another brother arrived.

Even with four kids and a very tight budget, my parents were smart. They scraped and saved and bought a house in 1987. My mom eventually went back to school and graduated with her nursing degree in 1992 (a degree she earned while juggling four kids thanks to a pell grant). I remember attending her graduation and beaming with pride as she earned her nurse’s pin.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid. The six of us lived in a 1400 sq ft house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but we were happy there. My parents wanted to give us everything they couldn’t have in their youth (dance lessons, team sports, music lessons, etc.) and sacrificed a lot so we could have those experiences. They made sure we never took anything for granted and that we never lost our kid spirit. My dad is still the biggest kid I know. He was only one of two or three dads that actually chased and played “tag” with their kids through the tunnels of Discovery Zone.

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They also made sure we never felt left out. Instead of traveling without us, my parents took us on adventures with them, taking us on road trips all over the U.S. All six of us would spend weeks at a time driving up and down the east coast or we would fly out west and do two week road trips out there. I’m still not sure how we all survived that.

And, as embarrassing as it was, my parents were never ones to hide their PDA. Yes, I had those parents who were constantly kissing, hugging, and slow dancing to music only they could hear. They also made inappropriate jokes that caused me to turn beet red in front of my friends. To this day they are still embarrassingly cute together, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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While my parents do love each other (and aren’t afraid to share that with the world), that doesn’t mean they don’t have their fair share of bickering or fighting. Trust me, my parents can argue with the best of them. They taught me relationships aren’t easy and you have to work hard at them, that means not giving up after a fight and that it’s okay to speak up and let your other half know you’re not okay with something even if their not okay with that statement. No couple is perfect and the only way any relationship is going to work is admitting that up front.

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My parents started with nothing and slowly built a family and life most people could only dream of. In 1999 they were able to purchase their dream house and a few years later my siblings and I were all very blessed to graduate from college debt-free thanks to my parents years of saving and sacrifice. They are proof that if you work hard, all of your hopes and dreams will come true. I didn’t have expensive designer jeans or “things” growing up, but I had a family that loved me, a warm bed to sleep in at night, and a mom and dad who never missed a soccer game, a cheerleading performance, or a play I was in.

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Today is my parents’ thirtieth wedding anniversary and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they’ve done for my siblings and I. Not only for raising us to be the adults we are today, but for setting an awesome example of what a happy marriage is. As I prepare for my own wedding in January, I’m thankful to have two parents who showed me what love really is: it’s staying by your partner’s side when things get tough, it’s never forgetting to say I love you, it’s dancing to that music that only the two of you can hear, and it’s looking all of the statistics in the face and saying screw them.

I love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for always being YOU and reminding me it’s okay to be ME. You guys are the reason I’m the person I am today and I can’t wait to watch your love for each other to continue to grow and prosper over the next 30 years.

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Happy Anniversary!

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lisa fine November 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

Beautiful. I love stories like this.

My parents also met in high school and are so wonderful, supportive, and have grown together after many years. I feel lucky every day.

Happy anniversary to your folks!

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2 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer November 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

This is so incredibly sweet. I love that you had such awesome role models to learn from. Not only is marriage/friendship so incredibly rewarding it is so incredibly difficult too. Happy Anniversary!

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3 Reenie November 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

What a beautiful love story. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!!

(the 2nd pic ~ I can really see the resemblance of your brother…the twin in your Dad, and Kelly in your Mom)

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4 Dori November 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

Happy anniversary to your parents! It is amazing that they are still so in love.

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5 Amanda November 13, 2012 at 10:51 am

Happy Anniversary to your parents!

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6 steph November 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

OMG you are a clone of your dad!

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7 Dori November 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

Also, was your mom’s hair permed? My mom’s hair looked VERY similar at her 1981 wedding!

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8 Meghann November 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

Yep, that was a perm. I’m pretty sure all 1980s brides had similar do’s. :)

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9 Renee November 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

Okay that brought tears to my eyes… such a beautiful story! <3

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10 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin November 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

This is such a sweet post – I’m sure your mom and dad are beaming with pride reading this!!

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11 Natalie @ Free Range Human November 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

What an amazing tribute. I teared up as I read this. So many stories don’t end this way, and it’s clear that your parents made the commitment to their love and relationship to stand the test of time. This must be wonderful for you to reflect on as you approach your own wedding!

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12 Michelle November 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

That’s so sweet! My parents celebrated 38 years together in July :)

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13 Katie November 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

Absolutely beautiful!

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14 Julie @ Wearing Mascara November 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

This post seriously made me tear up. My parents are divorced and seeing that your parents have had such a wonderful relationship for all these years makes me hopeful. Thank you for posting this and happy anniversary to your lovely parents!

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15 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

Such a sweet post! Happy Anniversary to your parents!

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16 Annette @FitnessPerks November 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

Such a beautiful story!

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17 NYC Fit GIrl November 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

What a beautiful post Meghann! Isn’t it amazing how our parents could meet in HS and still be in love after all those years! My parents also met in HS and have been married 35 years! It really is something truly special.

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18 Jean November 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

Yay Pell grants! Congrats to your parents.

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19 natalie @ will jog for food November 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

What a great love story. You have amazing parents :)

Happy Anniversary to them!

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20 Irina @ Chocolatea Time November 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

What a beautiful tribute to your parents. Congratulations to them (and your entire family) for getting to where you are today all together. I love reading stories like these because they prove that love, dedication, hard work, and commitment are still very important in a marriage.

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21 Jodi November 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

Just beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing!

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22 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

Seriously trying not to cry on the bus right now! This is so sweet, you are lucky to have grown up in such a close and loving family, I’m sure you and Derek will create the same thing for your family!

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23 Tasha November 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

This is such a sweet post. I’m sure they are truly thankful for having such amazing kids. Congratulations to your mom & dad!

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24 Jess@atasteofconfidence November 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

such a cute story. reminds me of my parents, who were married at 19 & 20 and are still together. Congrats to them!

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25 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run November 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I loooove seeing pics of parents. I cannot believe how much your dad looks like Ben (younger) and how much Kelly looks like your mom (now) and you looked like your mom (younger). So fun to see the family resemblance!

Everyone says I looked just like my dad and I never saw it until years later in a total of 2 pictures. Funny how we mold into our parents sometimes. :-)

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26 kirsten November 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

beautiful post! happy anniversary to your parents! :)

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27 Sonia the Mexigarian November 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

awww. beautifully written post. made me tear up. my parents have been together 30+ years and marriage ‘s truly not all rainbows and puppies. it’s hard work. i’m so glad to have them as an example though. through thick and thin.

congratulations to your parents :)

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28 Elisabeth November 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Congratulations to your parents on 30 years! Happy Anniversary :D

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29 clare @ fittingitallin November 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

This is beautiful, Meghann! Happy Anniversary to them!

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30 Laura November 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Love this post! I feel the same way about my parents – thanks for making me cry like a little baby in the middle of the day! Lol :)

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31 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes November 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Beautiful post, Meghann, and congrats to your parents!

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32 Lindsay Simone @ The Life Muse November 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

LOVE this post so much that I started to tear up! Seriously, growing up in a house filled with love does a lot more for a child than one filled with possessions (and emptiness).

Happy 30th anniversary to the parentals!

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33 MrsSwan November 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Beautiful!!!!! Happy Anniversary Mr & Mrs!!!

This post comes at a great time for me and hits home. My hubby and I (9 yrs) are in what I would call a down part of our lives. We will work through this though as that is what you do when you love another. I was just typed up a blog post about this today and then I read your post. This makes me smile and I am glad to see that you are realistic about what you are expecting out of your marriage.

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34 Caroline November 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

What a great story and role model for you and those in their lives! It’s hard to come by relationships that are strong and healthy, so thanks for sharing. happy anniversary to them!!

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35 Nicole November 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm

This is so darling! I love that you shared this. How wonderful a family you have.

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36 Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel November 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

This is so cute… but my favorite part is that your dad is still rocking the same glasses, 30 years later! haha!

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37 Meghann November 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Ha – you’re right! I guess when you find a style that works…

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38 Rebecca November 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Awwww!! Great post Meghann!

My Mom had a similar wedding dress – and 30 years from now our kids are probably going to comment on our wedding dresses ;-) It was “the fashion”

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39 Ashley November 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Today is my 1 year anniversary with my Bf. I hope I can have as awesome a story to tell my kids as your parents do. Beautiful post!

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40 Melissa November 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I’m such a sap – reading your post made me tear up! Thank you for sharing!

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41 Cathy November 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

That was beautiful. You totally made me tear up at work. Congrats to your parents they are a wonderful couple and have raised some great kids!!

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42 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale November 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Congratulations to your parents, Meghann!! Here’s to 30 more years of health and happiness together.
I’m a true romantic at heart, and hearing stories like this makes me overflow with emotion from the joy of being reminded that there IS true love in the world. I believe that we are all destined to find a soulmate. I’m incredibly glad that your parents found their’s and were able to bless the world with their spunk, sparkle, and never ending commitment to themselves and their family.
Nothing left to say but <3.

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43 cathy@1970kikiproject November 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

happy anniversary to your parents!!
i bet they enjoy reading about the memories you have of childhood, growing up, what was important to you…what excellent role models!

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44 Cait November 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm

thanks for sharing, Meghann. One of my favorite posts of yours (and I am a longtime reader…ahem..graduatemeghann lol)!

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45 Kashi @ Cape Island Runners November 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Happy anniversary to them! Wonderful story :)

We were married 1.5 months before my parents 40th and that was very special. it’s great to have such role models in our lives!

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46 jane November 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

my parents just celebrated their 40th anniversary and i am getting married next october-such great role models! my fiance’s parents are still together as well so i always tell my fiance how lucky we are-it means you are stuck with me forever :-) mwaahaha

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47 GM November 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

A beautiful Meghann :-) <3

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48 GM November 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I meant to say a “beautiful Tribute” stupid keyboard….

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49 Carrie @ The Cook's Palette November 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

What a neat story! Thanks for sharing. And congrats to your parents!

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50 Rachel Wilkersom November 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Ahh, I loved this. You are so lucky to have parents like these!

Also, can I request a post with their secrets to such a long and happy marriage or maybe some advice to those of us at the beginning of things?

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51 Alaina November 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I love this! My parents celebrated their 30th this year too. :-)

Your parents sound very similar to my in-laws. They got married just out of high school and had two girls and two boys, all who grew up traveling the US and getting excellent educations (and a lot of love and support). And my mother in law became a nurse while raising her kids too!

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52 Katie November 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I read this post, cried. And then I read it to my boyfriend and we both cried.
I’m always so moved by posts like this. I feel so privileged that I get to read about your life and hear amazing stories like this. :)

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53 Kristin November 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Beautiful story! Happy anniversary to your parents.

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54 beka November 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

I LOVE this post. My parents anniversary is coming up in Dec, and I feel the exact same way about them. We had a very similar upbringing – except I only have 1 brother. ;)

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55 Chatelaine November 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

*sniff sniff* OMG that made me emotional. what a beautiful tribute. i’ve always read your stories about your family and just loved how close you are. reading about your relationship with your siblings and just getting to know you through your blog always made me with there were more parents in the world like yours. they’ve done an incredible job.

Happy Anniversary!

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56 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions November 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

This is such a beautiful post! Huge congratulations to your parents on 30 years of marriage! That’s incredible and inspiring, and I really appreciate you sharing their story.

Also, holy SMOKES! Your mom and sister are practically carbon copies of each other! And I can totally see you in your dad. Wowza!

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57 J November 15, 2012 at 6:49 am

That picture of your dad kissing your mom’s cheek is so sweet!!

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58 Caroline Calcote November 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

What a great post! You have the sweetest parents and a wonderful family.

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59 LizForADay November 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

What a sweet story. I love the pictures. That is so awesome. I only hope to find someone to grow with like that. :)

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