I Believe In Appreciation

Rashelle - Honolulu, Hawaii
Entered on July 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Three squared, three squared…. What was the answer? My mind flew, wandering in all directions. My thoughts pounded against my brain as if thunder were roaring within me. I couldn’t focus on the math problem before me, and rapidly scratched down the number six. Then, frustrated with my indecisiveness, I scavenged through my backpack, desperately searching for my calculator. I plugged in three squared then instantly pressed the equal sign. Nine! I shouted aloud, and then surprised myself as I felt a tear roll down my cheek. No, I was not crying because I had missed a simple math problem, it was the stress that overtook me. The stress of finding out that my grandmother had just been placed in Kapiolani Medical Hospital.

My grandma has always been one of my favorite people. She is always there for me whether I need a talk, or just an amazing dinner. Imagining her leaving my life, at any random moment possible seemed too much to bear. Thoughts of all the thrilling, fascinating, eye-opening experiences I’ve had with her flooded through my head. She was the one that taught me to never give up, to always stay strong, to be a civilized woman, and to constantly appreciate everything you’re given and everyone around you. I was taught appreciation, but I only went through the most basic steps. Steps, which got annoyingly recurrent to me, like expressing please and thank you after every sentence, writing cards of gratitude for every gift, and having to buy presents for every small occasion. To tell the truth, appreciating things was not important to me.

Coming home from school that day, I immediately sensed something was wrong. I spied my dad’s faded gold Mercedes pulling up toward me instead of my mom’s navy-deep-ocean blue Lexus. Normally my mom would pick me up from school, unless something was terribly out of place.

“Where’s mom? Is she okay? Is there something wrong?” I quickly questioned my dad as I leaped into the car. He paused, seeming to choose his words carefully.

“Mom’s fine. It’s grandma…. She’s in the hospital.” I froze absolutely still, completely in shock. I shook my head, not believing what I had just heard. He knew how close I was to her and tried to comfort me, but I couldn’t focus on what he was saying. His first words replayed like a broken record, over and over in my head. Why my grandma? I kept asking myself as if some mysterious voice would appear out of nowhere, telling me all the answers to life.

This was definitely one of the toughest times of my life. I was desperate for answers with no hope of finding them. It was because of this moment, however, that I finally understood the concept of appreciation. I realized that if you love someone then you should recognize their full worth, and never take them for granted. Anyone or anything that you have could be lost in a single moment. I now learned to appreciate this while I can, which is why I believe in appreciation.