When I was about 5 years old, my parents went through a terrible divorce. None of my hazy memories from that time period are particularly good. All I know is that there was a lot of fighting and screaming and slamming doors.
After a nasty legal battle, my sister and I eventually ended up living with my mom. She didn’t have much money, and we even spent some time on food stamps. For a while, we didn’t have beds to sleep in or a dinner table to sit at. The first year, I remember being upset about not having a big Christmas tree to decorate.
What’s most important, though, is the fact that I still got to live the life of a normal little kid. And I didn’t fully understand just how thankful I should have been for that, especially given the circumstances.
I had friends and I idolized Batman and I traded Pokemon cards. I fought with my sister and played little league baseball and watched Disney movies. Summer nights were filled with games of backyard hide ‘n’ seek and winter was filled with bottomless mugs of hot chocolate.
These are simple things that many of us experienced when we were kids. At the time, we don’t think much about them. But as I get older, the more often I find myself catching up on being thankful and thinking about those days with such gratitude, wishing I had understood how lucky I was back then.
Just being given the chance to experience the basic things that life has to offer is an amazing blessing, even if you’re going through some struggles, and we should all be thankful for having those chances.
If you ate dinner today, you should feel blessed. Millions upon millions of people around the globe are living on an empty stomach as we speak.
If you woke up in a warm bed or under a roof, you should be grateful. Too many people wake up under bridges or on city streets.
If you spent time with a loved one or gave someone a hug today, you should be thankful. Loneliness is something that far too many people suffer from every single day, and we shouldn’t take for granted the people that are close to us.
Just remember, there are families everywhere who will sit down at the dinner table tomorrow and have to endure the pain of seeing an empty seat that a lost loved one left behind.
So, all these years later, I’m starting to understand just how thankful I am to have this life. It may have taken some time, but it’s never too late to catch up.