When I noticed the date on which this column would appear, there was no doubt that it had to be about my mother and dad. So what is the big deal about Nov. 16? Was it their anniversary? No. During their lifetimes, it was just another day in November.

Mother died four years ago on Nov. 15, while Dad, who died 17 years ago, was born Nov. 17. It is impossible for my siblings and I and our families not to think about how blessed we were to have the parents we had. This is also the perfect prelude for another November event - Thanksgiving.

When it came to our folks, we have much to be grateful to God for. They gave us our sense of humor. Both Mother and Dad loved to laugh and to make others laugh. Any time our family gets together, there is sure to be good-spirited laughter.

They gave us the freedom to choose to be whatever we wanted to be. Dad was a long-time educator as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator. Mother was a department store clerk after completing a long stint as a stay-at-home mom. They never told us what we should do with our lives; they encouraged us to do whatever made us happy.

They taught us not to worry too much. Actually, Mother did her share of worrying, but kept it to herself. Dad said he would worry five minutes in bed and then go to sleep. (Most nights, I don't think he got anywhere close to five minutes)

They gave us equal love. They didn't play favorites. They loved my two brothers, sister and me unconditionally.

They set us examples of how people can live out their faith in God. Devotion was not just one hour on Sunday.

Most importantly, they showed us how loving God and others are the most important parts of this life and the gateway to eternal life.

For all these gifts and countless more, we give thanks to God for our mother and dad Nov. 16, Thanksgiving and every day until days melt into eternity with God.

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Good parents are great blessings.