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Growing up one of six children I sometimes secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wished to be an only child. An only child who didn’t have to wait for hand me downs to get a new pair of jeans. An only child whose mom was the PTA President and made homemade cookies for school parties. An only child who had two complete sets of grandparents who lived next door and were always at my beckoned call. An only child who didn’t live in the country but rather a tree lined subdivision with plenty of kids to play with.
An only child who didn’t have trouble with math. An only child who didn’t have freckles, big lips, a big mess of hair or problems with self-esteem. An only child whose parents WERE part of the social ‘in crowd’ in the community. An only child whose parents didn’t have to work 2 jobs each at times to support their family. An only child who couldn’t possibly comprehend how hard it was for her parents to turn to government assistance on two occasions to help support their family. An only child who didn’t have to clean toilets after school as part of the family business. An only child who wasn’t part of a questionable religion from birth to 12 years old. An only child who simply had a normal life… you know, the life that EVERYONE else had but me.
Today I thank God, my lucky stars, SNL writers and whoever else that my wish didn’t come true.
Because without waiting for hand me downs, I would never understand the importance of taking care of your things. Without a mom who didn’t send her child to school with a package of Oreos instead of homemade cookies, I wouldn’t know this shortcut creates more time to spend with my children. Without two complete sets of grandparents who were at my beckoned call, I wouldn’t have appreciated the time I did get to spend with my grandmothers. Without living out in the country and not a subdivision I wouldn’t have experienced the joys of eating wild strawberries, honeysuckles or playing outside until the sun went down with my little sister and kid brother. Without those little self-esteem issues I may never have learned how important it is to be kind to everyone no matter what their life appears to be. Without parents who were part of the social ‘in crowd’, I learned that the coolest in-crowd is my family. Without knowing what it’s like to live on government assistance as a child, I wouldn’t have recognized that not everyone who receives such benefits is lazy. Without working in the family business as a child, I wouldn’t have understood how important it is that my children clean their own toilet (a skill I think every parent should teach their kids… especially boys!). Without spending 12 years as a member of that ‘questionable religion’, I may not have discovered that my God loves everyone; even little girls with freckles, messy hair, big lips and a big dream to be a little humor writer. And most importantly without my 2 brothers and 3 sisters I wouldn’t fully understand the importance of quality birth control… No matter how many ups and downs I suspect we all have, life is much better spent when you learn to be happy with what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t.

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