Published at the Garden Grove Journal
On Dewey Drive in Garden Grove, the days seem to melt into one another, a seamless transition from moments to memories. Parents watch their children grow up, watch each other grow older, all while capturing pictures and building relationships. They’re living the American Dream in a world where families come first, before toys or careers. It all seems as perfect as a picture post card, this speck of a street in the middle of Garden Grove. Here, children play in well-tended front yards, while dads talk of house projects, hardware and motors. On Dewey Drive, moms serve Saturday lunch on the porch, families baby-sit each other’s children, and everybody owns a dog. Here, there are no residents, just neighbors, people like the Parslows. Michael, Carole and David are an example of what’s good in America, here in Garden Grove. Strong people, with good hearts, carrying priority lists that start with “us” and end with “me.”
Carole is beautiful and caring, Michael, handsome and hardworking. Both are fiercely dedicated to the family, have sacrificed dreams and careers for the family. What is right is the family, and to the Parslows, that is the most important thing in the world. They have created an atmosphere, a feeling that shows in their home, and their son, David. The cost in doing that, however, is just as steep as the reward is beautiful: In order for Carole to stay home with David, Michael took a job that requires a great deal of traveling.
“It’s not easy,” said .Michael. “In the past three years, I have been away from home a total of one year.”
While Michael loathes the time he is missing with his son, and Carole hates being alone, neither would do things differently. Better to sacrifice time together than raise David in child care; better to give up the little things, in exchange for the things that really matter.
“It’s hard, but I wouldn’t change it,” Carole said. “If Mike didn’t have this job, we wouldn’t have what we have, and I would not have been able to stay home with David. “If the job market was better, Mike could find a job closer to home. The way it is now, there’s little chance he’d be able to find a job with the type of salary he’s making,” she said. “It sure has pros and cons. Without it, there’s no way I would have been able to take two years off when David was born, and there’s no way I’d be able to only work part-time now,” she said.”But every-time Mike’s gone, David asks me about his daddy. That’s tough.” Hardship, however, is a minor concern. Support for each other overcomes lonely days and nights, along with the help of a close-knit, strong family. Without the other person, one would not be nearb as strong. Together, as a family, they thrive. Beyond the struggles in the present lies a road to their dreams, of plans to move north and open a hardware store. For now, the picture of their lives matches the illusion of the street They created it, with strong backs and kind hearts, no matter what the odds or obstacles. Along with their neighbors, they have a silent pride in where they live, and who they are.
That is what turns a city street into a neighborhood. It is the hard road to take, raising a family, and Dewey Drive reflects the pride that comes from a hard task well done. As a family, the Parslows have built a beautiful sanctuary away from the chaos in this world. It is not a house the Parslows live in, but a home, and the difference shows in the warmth of a beautiful child. A perfect little family, one of hundreds living quietly in Garden Grove, each living the dream of America:
To own a home.
To start a family.
To make footprints.
A perfect Little family,living on a perfect little street.
Or so it seems.
Perfection, as it turns out, contradicts the definition of family. The Parslows are not a perfect family, unless perfection means hard work and harder choices, or selfless love and sacrifice. If it means giving up a career to raise a child, or putting off dreams so a child’s wants are met, starting a family is perfection. It is not perfection, this little family on Dewey
It is the sacrifice of heroes.