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Life Lessons from my Parrothead Parents

As a college student, one who has been in the game for four years, you get used the infamous introductions. You know the ones…what’s your name, where are you from, what’s you major…and, if you are lucky, a wild card like if you were a fruit, what fruit would you be? It happens all the time, and constantly.

However annoyingly repetitive it may be to revisit or overhear the same ol’ shallow Q & A on syllabus days, these moments of introductions prompted me to make an inward reflection, ultimately revealing some of the influences my parents have had on me.

Let me start by saying that my parents are Parrotheads. And yes, this little factor of their lives has bled over into their parental obligations — leaving me kind of, well, different. I’ve tried to explain to my friends in hopes they could understand why I am the way I am; it doesn’t really work.

So, to unravel this mystery, here are the life lessons I have learned from the lovers of the Gulf, Western music and beach persuasion that are my parents.

At an early age, I remember Saturday mornings coasted off the choruses of various Jimmy Buffett songs. The island breeze lyrics provided a soundtrack as we got ready for the day drive down to Galveston beach. It was the salty air of the Gulf of Mexico that provided my mother and father the relief from yells of adolescent screams. The struggles of life seem to fade with the help of the island. My first lesson found in this memory? You can find your own escape to paradise, no matter problem and no matter the distance, and find joy along the way.

As you probably see now, my family was very big into “soundtracking” our various moments of our day, specifically in the car. This wasn’t reserved for long drives to the coasts, but every time we hopped in the car like the journey to swim practices, to the dry cleaners, and on every grocery store visit.

My second life lesson comes from the moments when I would try to sing along to the tune in the cars…and horrifically fail. Not fail in the sense of pitches, but I would not know the full lyrics, causing difficulty for the other passengers wishing to enjoy the music. However, mom and dad didn’t mind. Their free-loving selves raised me to sing and to dance about the things I love and, if I didn’t love anything at the time, then I was to sing and dance for those I love.

My last life lesson may seem kind of silly, but is completely valid in today’s culture. As I stated before, my mother and father are committed to the lifestyle inspired by Jimmy, and because of this, they never miss it when he comes to town. It is their favorite event of the year and is a longstanding tradition. And like most extracurricular activities, it can get pretty pricey.

So, it is no surprise when frustration occurred one year due to the obnoxious behavior of a nearby wanna-be pirate. Life lesson number three? A pirate hat does not make you a pirate. Just like a camera does not make someone a photographer, the physical items in our life do not grant us status or make us a specialist. We must have credentials in order to back up what we voice as truth.

These are just a few of the life lessons I have learned through the island themed party that is my mother and father. What have your Parrothead parents taught you? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter by tagging @Margaritaville and #ParrotheadParents.

Annie Lawson is a Margaritaville ambassador at Abilene Christian University. Learn more about Margaritaville University here.