Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankfulness

Being thankful is so much more than a verbal praise, it's showing you are genuinely thankful. It's sitting down with others and telling them why you are thankful for them. It is genuinely feeling thankful in your heart and feeling remorse that you aren't thanking them every day.  Often times I see people posting on Facebook or writing  thankful thoughts in the month of November because they are reminded to because of Thanksgiving. I fall victim to this as well. Eleven months out of the year I feel very selfish like there is no other life but my own and then magically in November I remember there are things that I'm thankful for. This is something I need to work on greatly.
 So many things to be thankful for not only recently but throughout my whole entire life. Growing up poor is very difficult. While I know that there were other children who are less fortunate than I, I do know there were/ are definitely children who were far better off. I remember my selfish days as a child more so than my thankful days. I attribute this to taking for granted the things I should have been thankful for and burning those selfish days into my memory timeline. I think this is only normal as a youth in a consumer America. I wanted better, shinier.


May of my third grade year, age eight, I got my first taste of not everyone is of equal socioeconomic status. The summer weather had came in full swing and everyone was fully suited with their new summer attire. My internal dialogue was singing to myself over pulling out summer clothes so I did out of the deep corner of my room closet. I must have had s mini growth spurt because nothing buttoned and the shirts were too snug. I panicked because everyone else was in full summer weather jordache. I remember sitting on the floor on my brown paneled room with faded purple and white swirled carpet thinking how can this be happening? I look at my roommate, sister, at the time saying what are we going to do? I knew there was no way I could get new clothes and my cousins hadn't sent magical black trash bags of treasure hand me downs, which were the best presents ever even to this day. I loved the exhilarating feeling of new hand me downs. I frantically looked through the other side of the closet because there had to be other options. I remember trying on five pairs of shorts from the summer (or two?) before then and crying more as the next pair was smaller. Not crying because they were too small, but crying because I felt so isolated from the other children in that aspect. The luxury of new items.

I couldn't understand why my mom would tell me absolutely no to a new pair of sandals or shorts for summer when my mothers mind was filled with abstract thoughts of what size my feet would be in the winter or how big of jeans I would need at a rummage sale for winter. I didn't understand for a long time that the reason she said no was because shorts and sandals can't be worn in the winter and what she was currently purchasing would have to last at least a year if not two. Five children is a lot to process and outfit.  I remember my first pair of summer sandals that weren't wore by seven cousins first. They were clear plastic jelly open toed flops with a sun floating in water over the toe. The words, sand sun imprinted on the bottom that I imagined would be pressed into the sand if I was on a beach.  A women's size five when I was in fifth grade. My best friends mom gave them to me. I think she was tired of watching me come over in the middle of the summer in jeans and boots. I was so elated when she asked me if I would like to take them home one day after I'd been wearing them at her house a few weeks. I cried that night because I felt like I had something practically new that was just mine. I wore them until they fell apart. I think about that as an adult just to reflect on how children view events and how I, myself view things now. I get humble and I start thanking people. I should thank my friends mom for recognizing the impact of that event on me. I should actually thank her for many more things I can't explain.

When you're young you have an innate selfishness and want for things other children have. I'm sure my parents knew every second about this but were truly thankful that everyone was moderately healthy and could be fed. Their concentration was no where near being selfish for trivial things but being thankful they have a wood burning stove and their water didn't freeze last night. Life for myself as an adult and for my children is no where near the struggle they and we went through during that time. Most days I'm extremely happy for this but often feel guilty for not actively being thankful for where I am.

There is a long list of people who have contributed to my success and I hope in one way or another I thank them. Out of the long list of people I am thankful for and owe. Today I'm thanking My parents and grandparents. My parents for every aspect of who I am. For feeding me, supporting me, and encouraging me to be the strong stubborn person I am today. For telling me I can do anything on this earth. Helping me financially. Helping me with five hours of driving days and a strong support system with Gavin. I'm even thankful for the days that you drive me crazy and when I feel like I want to run away from your madness. My grandparents have also been a reliving source of thankfulness. Thank you for taking me in and supporting me through junior college when they didn't have to. For always listening to my woes about life and helping guide my adolescent and adult decisions. For raising children with a hard working example to pass on. For giving me a place outside your home through my life at Siu and waitressing. Refusing rent from me during that time. Providing me with endless amounts of vegetable soup. I'm so thankful for you both eventhough I don't nearly see you or tell you enough.