My mom’s childhood:
My mom grew up in Columbia, Missouri, a college town with her brother and parents. Growing up in a college town allowed my mom to get a taste of different cultures while also enjoying a warm, midwest childhood. My mom also enjoyed peaceful summers with her cousins in Freistatt, a very small German town in the Ozark mountain region of Missouri. At the time, Freistatt, was a town of around 100 people (now around 159 people), with certain accommodations like outhouses that brought back the feeling of technologically simpler times.
My mom’s parents:
My maternal grandfather played instrumental roles at some battles against the Nazis in World War II. He re-grew from this trauma by tending a garden at home. His garden was so noteworthy that the agricultural professors at the local university paid a visit to learn from him. He did keep some gardening secrets though! My mom remembers fondly the far fetched stories he would tell to blow away his listeners, even though she knew shooting a bullet through a cornfield wouldn’t make popcorn.
My maternal grandmother was loving but reserved, which caused my mom to embrace saying the words “I love you” with her own children. It is the most common phrase in my side of the family, and everyone says “I love you” all the time with ease, all because of my mom’s embrace of the phrase. My grandmother was an incredible cook and a resourceful homemaker. I am inspired by my mom’s own resourcefulness that she picked up from her mom. I embrace this trait as I care deeply about our environment.
My dad’s childhood:
My dad grew up in Iran. When he was 5, he moved from Kerman to the country’s capital, Tehran. He lived in Tehran until he was 17, when he moved to Missouri to go to school. My dad, a proud American for more than 50 years, humbles us with his stories of growing up in Iran. However, he also instills pride in us for our Persian heritage - I grew up going to the Zoroastrian temple and taking Farsi classes as a kid. I have fond memories of the friendship, religious services, and food from my experiences growing up and celebrating my Persian heritage.
My dad’s parents:
My paternal grandfather found value in work, and worked into his 90s as a suit store owner because it made him happy. I remember him visiting us in New York, wearing a suit no matter how hot it was in the summer. Working for my grandfather wasn’t about the money, but about the structure it provided him. My dad also finds joy in work - having worked as an engineer for many decades, and coming out of retirement a couple times to pursue new creative job opportunities. The middle parts of my name are after my grandfather. His name was Mehrabon Hooshangi Kermani, and my name is Jeremy Mehrabon Hooshangi Pogemiller-Kermani. Mehrabon means kindness in Farsi, and I am told that my grandfather was a very kind man. I take pride in my name because I value kindness dearly.
My paternal grandmother was decisive, whether it was deciding as a teenager to marry my grandfather or deciding to continually eat McDonald’s fries as she embarked on a cross-country road trip in the US. My dad also finds comfort in knowing what he wants and following his intuition. My father is significantly younger than his older siblings, and he enjoyed uninterrupted affection from his mom. My father also gives uninterrupted affection to his children and grandchildren.
How They Met:
My dad moved to Missouri and was going to school near where my mom grew up. My dad met my mom on the line at a bank. After meeting her, he found her name in the phone book, and called several numbers until he got her on the phone. He got her to go out with him on a date, and the rest is history!
Life Long Learners:
Despite neither of my maternal grandparents attending high school, nor my paternal grandparents going beyond elementary school, all of them valued education and hardwork. My dad got a PhD and my mom became a psychiatric nurse practitioner - the highest degrees in their respective professions. I’ve also inherited this value in education. I don’t value just formal education - I value being a lifelong learner. I am always interested in learning new things whenever I can - whether its audiobooks, podcasts, documentaries, reading online, or doing online quizzes - I am always finding joy in learning. This is one of my favorite things about my parents - that they love learning. When we hang out, we don’t discuss people - we discuss ideas. We can go hours talking without having a tv turned on, where we talk about local or global affairs.
When we talk, we don’t just discuss ideas, we also discuss our feelings. My mom is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, so she has always destigmatized mental illness and has always encouraged an open dialogue about our hopes and fears. I plan on also encouraging my child to talk about how they feel - about anything, without any conditions.
My Parents Creating Their Family:
My parents have built a beautiful life together. They met in Missouri, where my dad was in school and then was a professor. He was actually her math professor at one time too! By the way, my mom says she deserved her A in his class, but I wonder if their relationship had a little something to do with it.
Anyways, my dad got a job at IBM in the Hudson Valley region of New York, and they moved here together. My parents were adventurous, in that they moved to this area despite neither having any family here. And despite this lack of cousins nearby, our immediate family is incredibly close. I have a twin sister, an older brother, and an older sister. We are all close, emotionally and geographically. The Kermani group text is where I get most of my texts, and is where I go to share my good news. We see each other at every holiday and birthday. We say “I love you” nonstop. We share how we feel and we talk about the world. They are my closest friends and confidants.
My parents may have come from different geographical locations, but they both value and embrace the best parts of being human. They are always learning, talking, and loving. Their values are my values.
I cannot wait to welcome the 7th Kermani grandkid. My mom and dad are the most loving grandma and grandpa. Their phones are filled to capacity with videos and pictures of Chloe, Sophie, Ari, Declan, Liam, and Isla. Their phones are always ringing with FaceTime calls and with texts to come over for dinner to spend time with the grandkids. They value family time and affection above all else, as do Kyle and me. I am so proud to call them my mom and dad. I can’t wait for them to become grandparents again when Kyle and I become parents.