Today’s Courier Herald Column:
There were two anniversaries that passed for me this past week that are of personal significance. Three years ago, l left blogging anonymity and let folks know who had been writing under the name “Icarus” over at Peach Pundit. It had been a fun couple of years that I needed, as the time marked a particularly troubling period of my life. I had experienced failure on every level, and had managed to channel my unlimited free time and limited energy into writing about Georgia politics under my assumed name.
Icarus, the figure from Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun and died because of his own arrogance, seemed an appropriate handle, and it served me well during those years. Anonymity is difficult to protect in semi-public circles, and at the end of the 2009 session of the General Assembly, I decided it was time to move on. I wrote a post titled “Who Is Icarus”- still available if you Google that and “PeachPundit.com”- to tell my story. It remains, as the past always does, warts and all.
I had assumed that would be the end of my writing, as people were paying attention to this mystery character because someone had decided I was an influential insider and I did nothing to change that perception. Once revealed as a nobody and a public failure, I assumed there would be no interest in anyone reading, or my continuing. Luckily, I was wrong, and instead, I became busier. Three years later I’m now the editor of Peach Pundit, have a daily column appearing in print media, and make occasional appearances on radio and TV.
I started that story, “Icarus is a lucky man”. He still is, even though he no longer goes by that name.
The second line of my tale is directly related to the other anniversary this week. “I was blessed to be born into a home that had two loving parents, a community that valued education, and a country where opportunity was limitless.” The home with two loving parents began on April 12th, 1964, when my parents exchanged vows to remain together until death would they part. That vow lasted for 37 years, when Dad left this earth.
Outsiders often look at a couple that remains married, has 4 kids, and grows older together as somehow having it easy. Even those of us inside these homes often don’t appreciate the effort. It wasn’t always easy – probably rarely was – but my parents made the decision early on that they would provide a loving home for their children and family. It was a conscious decision, discussed early, because of all the things my mother didn’t have growing up, that was the one that she wanted to give her children. She and Dad topped the charts on that goal.
It’s even more amazing given that they barely knew each other when they wed. Dad was an Atlanta based accountant and Mom was living with an aunt and uncle in Norfolk when they met. They had three dates before becoming engaged and seven total before the wedding. Their honeymoon consisted of a drive back to Atlanta where Mom wouldn’t ask Dad to stop for a restroom break because “she hardly knew him.”
Yet while others often cite “growing apart” as an excuse for failure, my parents grew together. Over time, they raised their four children, mom’s brother, and Dad’s nephew. They took in Mom’s Uncle and Dad’s sister for extended periods of time. Our house was always full with both relatives and friends. Small as it was, there was always room for more people, with plenty of love to spare.
Were it not for the April 1964 anniversary and the home and environment my parents chose to build, I likely would have never had the one of three years ago. The life lessons taught by my parents were one of endurance, working through tough issues, resilience, and an enduring faith that no matter the problem or pain there is something better yet to come.
I am so glad that I am a lucky man, and even happier that I can now understand and appreciate this fact. Even more so that I can recognize how much work and planning on the part of my parents that helped create this luck. Well done Mom and Dad. Well done.