This I Believe

Patricia - Cooper City, Florida
Entered on June 25, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I am no Polllyanna, but I prefer to think of my cup as half-full rather than half empty. I find myself impatient with the “whiners” of the world.

Many thought I had an idyllic childhood without want. That is probably because of my attitude and my belief that I had what was truly important. My truth is that I was a “motherless daughter” using the title of Hope Edelson’s book. I was 14, entering high school, and the eldest of six when my mother died. My youngest sister was an infant so there was lots of responsibility. I never sat around and thought about “poor me.” I had a loving aunt and grandmothers along with several caring teachers who served as sources for nuturing when needed. I began high school and knew my job was to continue as a good student while helping at home.

So my high school years full of the usual friends, sleepovers football/basketball games, dances, proms, and activities all punctuated with babysitting, baking for holidays, guiding and becoming the model for my younger siblings while sort of looking out for my dad. Never did I think much about what I might be missing, only that I had a great family and was fortunate. I made National Honor Society, student council, editor of the school paper which made my dad proud and made me feel a success. My aunt lived with us and took us on an amazing trip out west one summer to see the wonderful National Parks. I even got to go to Disneyland (before Disney World) which made me the envy of many friends. A highlight of my high school years was traveling to South America during the summer as an exchange student.

I could not understand the complaints of my friends who needed a car, a new dress, or a later curfew. Yes, I did not want for material things. I did want for my mother, but my attitude was to feel happy for what I had…a great life.

My experience made me feel confident and determined to succeed on my own. I knew that I needed to spread my wings when I earned a teaching scholarship to FSU. For four years, I flew the nest and became the woman I am: nurturer, teacher, sister, wife, mother when I came home. Each day I am thankful for how I have been blessed, never dwelling on what I missed. My cup is overflowing, rather than half-full.