Victoria - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on August 14, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in gratitude.

My Mom is a doctor who used to be an illegal immigrant. My Dad was previously a hard core Men-a-Night and ran away from home, and with no college experience built his way up in the military engineering system working on ships. I have a colorful background. I know I’m lucky just to have my parents. They worked so hard to get to where they are today; I felt as though I had to equal their success. Could I? I have such a leg up, so much more than they.

I felt like I was competing with my parents, I felt guilty. Sitting in a warm bed pondering struggle? Was I over exaggerated things? All I thought about was how there were kids on the streets and I have a home, a family and an opportunity for an education. My Mom, someone I trusted said I just had to be grateful. Not to feel guilty.

Only four years later did I think of asking my Dad what he thought of gratitude. a building block for most principles he said. He linked it to his own beliefs. This was all I needed.

Gratitude helped me through hard times and I think it always will.

I wrote this a year ago and much has changed…many woes and strange happiness taken from them. My home almost was almost foreclosed upon this summer vacation. My Dad suffered from a crippling tooth ache and through many a procedure still wasn’t healing, he faded. We struggle over money. My dance studio closed down, the people I learned to call family over five years scattered. My eldest, step brother has chosen not to use the freedom from his mother to visit my family crushing my father further. And get this, to all you outsiders my family appears to be rich and well off. No one knows our well concealed secret, that we are struggling, that even the high up; doctors like my mother are just scraping by.

But that ever failing part of my mind rejoices, mocking me. I know that these things are the best things that have ever happened to me. I see my mom now. I know my family and how we are what keeps us alive, and each day I thank god for everything that he or she has given and taken from me because that makes me a stronger person. This barely brushes my life but know that it doesn’t matter. I see my mothers closest friends losing their children as they grow older, people I grew up with, kids who came to all of my birthday parties, and I to theirs, becoming different humans. My Dad is getting much better, money is still sweet and low, sometimes at the end of the month or so we have no food in the fridge but I have the world, I have my family, whole and complete, and that is all there is that is worth being grateful for.