I didn’t grow up in a home where gratitude was expressed or even talked about. I can’t remember if I ever thanked my family members for anything, but, looking back, there were many times I could have.
Like the time my mom took my dad’s big homemade tool chest, covered the bottom part with contact paper that looked like wood, put a foam piece on top, and covered that with a pretty lilac and pink flowered fabric. She then made a ruffled edge and used tacks to hold that ruffle in place. In my eyes, it was absolutely beautiful and the perfect addition to my room. The chest held my treasures, and I could sit on it, look out the window, and daydream.
Or the time my mom took me shopping for a dress for a junior high dance. She waited patiently until I found just what I wanted. I finally found the cutest lime green empire-waist dress – my younger sister told me I looked like a popsicle in it. I loved that dress, wore it often, and appreciated it in my heart even if I probably never expressed it. I can see it now being worn by trendy girls who love vintage. I wish I still had it.
I could have thanked my oldest brother – who was 12 years older than me and died when he was 39 – for the times he brought home his black convertible sports car (a Triumph I think) and gave us rides around town. I always hoped someone I knew would see me and my handsome older brother in his cool car. Those rides made me feel special for a short time and also gave me hope for a better future.
I only had one living grandparent, and she had a stroke when I was still very young. I always felt better when she was around. I trusted and loved her. I was inspired by her huge vegetable garden and her many beautiful flowers, and the festive Christmases at her house were a happy part of my young life.
My mom always kept a neat, clean house, and we always had a warm meal on the table around 5:30 p.m. I didn’t realize at the time how difficult this might have been for her. I took it for granted as most kids do. It gave me some sense of security though, and for that I’m grateful.
My dad died when I was just eleven years old. He had a troubled life, but I remember that on his better days he really listened to me. Somehow I knew he loved me. For being able to convey that message to me without words, I am thankful to him.
I’m grateful for my siblings for just being in my life and being the great people they are. None of us had a choice when we were kids, but now we do, and I’d choose all of them in a heartbeat. I only have three left out of five, and each one is dear to me in their own way.
If linear time is just an illusion as many scientists and philosophers say it is, then what we say and do now can and does affect what happened in the past. So. . . for all those people and for all these things and more. . . Thank you! When I do look back, it will not be with regret, anger, or sadness – I will choose to look with gratitude for each instance of love in my life and the amazing, messy, sometimes discouraging, sometimes sad, sometimes wonderful but always changing path that brought me to today.