I've always tried to be appreciative for everything I have. I think I do a pretty good job. Sometimes though, like everyone, I forget about the little things.
You get a whole new perspective on these things once you become a mom or a dad. You gain a deeper understanding of what your own parents did for you: The tough decisions they made, the sacrifices they endured. It made me think of the many things my parents did for me and how grateful I am.
Never quit: I remember wanting to give up those piano lessons in high school because I was busy with cheerleading and whatnot. The answer I got: Absolutely not. Smart mom: I can still play the piano but, those pom poms are gathering dust.
Manners matter: I grew up saying ma'am and sir and please and thank you. It was not an option. Those words have taken me farther than I could ever imagine. And they can mean the world to the person on the receiving end.
College debt: My parents paid for college for all three of us. I didn't understand how big of a deal it was at the time. I do now. What a gift. I will never be able to say thank you enough.
Advice: One thing I've always admired about my dad is that he's never given me unsolicited advice. I'm sure there have been plenty of times he's wanted to shake me and shout "what are you doing?!" But, he never has. I think he's always known I'd come to him eventually and ask his opinion when I was good and ready to listen.
Support: When I up and moved to North Carolina with no job and just a trunk full of clothes and a few hundred dollars in my wallet, my parents didn't try to stop me. I knew they would be there for me, no matter where I landed and that made all the difference.
Military life: My dad was in the Army. He was a Green Beret and spent two tours in Vietnam. I am and always have been extremely proud of him. I'm also grateful. There were three of us and my mom had to do the heavy lifting while my dad was away. That's a huge responsiblity for anyone and she did it well. And I'm thankful for the letters my dad sent me when he was overseas. I can read them now and know how much he loved and missed us.
There are so many little things we let slip by unnoticed. So, I ask my son daily to name one thing for which he's thankful. Some days he answers me with something like "my Pokemon cards." But, then, there are those days when he says "I'm thankful for you." Those are the days I know Mike and I have done something right after all.
Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of a grade schooler. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.