Posted on 2/2/14

taylor rileyOWENSBORO, Ky. (9/26/13) - Teenage rebelliousness can come in many forms like lying or sneaking out, but for me, it was just about rolling my eyes at anything my parents acted like they knew more than me about. And, really, it took me three years after I wasn’t a teenager and in the real world to realize that some of what they said turned out to be true. I definitely learned by making a ton of mistakes.
Here are some of my favorite humbling messages they gave me throughout the years:
You should bring a jacket. “A jacket? No, I won’t need one. It’s supposed to be warm and I don’t want to have to tie it around my waist when I don’t need it.” This is what I would’ve said in my younger years, but now I’ve realized to always come to things prepared. My mom, like a lot of moms, is an over-packer and I was always a regretful under-packer. I know now that it is always good to be over prepared for an event or activity than under prepared, because whenever it starts raining, I’m super thankful that I put my rain jacket in my car, just in case.
Quit fighting with your siblings. This one was really hard growing up. You don’t always see eye-to-eye with your sisters and brothers, whether they are older or younger, when you’re growing up. Hitting, screaming, slapping, pulling hair, and narking all happened in my blended-family, mostly when we were younger and sometimes on the very rare occasion, even now. The thing is though, being a semi-adult, I’ve learned that our parents were right, family really does mean everything. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, your family will always be there to support you, celebrate you, and love you, so you have to treat them with respect and love in order to receive that in return.
Save your money. The first job I had was at 16 at a local ice cream shop. I felt like such an adult when I finally got my first check that I blew the whole thing on a pink iPod Mini. My spending habits haven’t really changed since I was 16; I see something I like, I buy it. Now that I’m one month shy of being 23 and two months shy of my first student loan bill, I know I should’ve listened to my parents and invested some of my working money into savings.
Call your grandparents. For most of my friends, Sunday was a day spent at their grandparents’ house for dinner and family time. My grandparents, however, lived two states away, in Pennsylvania, with an eight hour drive. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t as close to my grandparents as my friends were to theirs, but an in-person visit always seemed a lot more personal than a phone call. Both my parents, who are divorced, would each tell me to call my living grandparents, both grandmothers, but I just wouldn’t make time for them growing up. When my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and later passed away due to complications from experimental surgery three summers ago, I regret not calling her more often. It’s a regret that I think about often, but to help my mend my heartache, I will make sure that my future kids never take their grandparents for granted.
Being just a couple years off from hitting my quarter-life crisis, I’ve come to understand just how much I need my family. When I was younger, I would leave them sitting on the couch watching a movie on a Saturday night to hang out with my friends, and now I would give anything on a Saturday night to drive 200 miles to do just that. I’m starting a new chapter in my life as an adult and I’m beginning to recognize that I need my parents, all four of them, every day. From cooking advice, to career, and love advice, they’ve taught me a lot, even if I had to learn it through lots of trial and error.
Taylor Riley
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