One of my recent goals in life is to constantly live in a state of gratitude no matter what is going on in my life. My reasoning behind this goal is that I know in my heart and soul that I am so lucky for everything that I have in my life.
One of the greatest blessings in my life is my little family. Both Nic and I come from broken homes. His happened in childhood and although my parents didn’t officially divorce until I was in college there were always issues throughout the years and my siblings and I experienced things that I don’t believe any child should have to go through.
I know my parents did the best that they could and I believe that with each new generation we learn a little more than the generations before us. It’s what makes the human race worth continuing.
Building Family Bonds
One thing that I am eternally grateful for is knowing that no matter what Nic and I may go through we will never put our children in the middle of our issues and we will always show respect towards one another. Our kids will always feel safe and they will always know that we love them and each other. I am so grateful for the bond that we have as a family. It is so strong and it will never be broken. We are each other’s priorities and we show it through our actions and our words.
Like any marriage, Nic and I have had our struggles. This shift in perspective, this goal to live in gratitude, however, makes me realize how fortunate I am to have someone who shares my values and wants to spend the rest of his life with me in creating and preserving this beautiful family that we’ve built. What is more amazing than that? When I look at the bigger picture, I realize that my tendency to be so nitpicky about everything is silly.
Hope for the Future
When you grow up with a skewed view of the world — that it’s a cruel place, everyone is out to get you, and happiness is not the norm — it’s hard to grow out of those beliefs. I have realized that life isn’t necessarily the way I was taught growing up. I am most grateful that I’ve come to this realization. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve already started to truly change my perspective on life and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
In the Hmong culture, you don’t hear the words “I love you” growing up. You’re just supposed to know that your parents love you. When American society has the opposite expectation, it can be confusing for a first-generation child. As I got older I realized that my parents did love me, but I had very real doubts as a child.
My hope with my children is that they will never question or doubt this. That doesn’t mean that they get everything they want or that they’re spoiled, but that they know in their hearts, no matter how old they are, that everything we do, we do out of love. It also means that the words “I love you” easily flow from our hearts and out of our mouths. Usually, my kids will say “I love you” only when we say it to them first. A couple of weeks ago, Quinn and I were playing and laughing and out of the blue he says “I love you mom”. With no prompt, and no indication that I was going to say it, it just came out so naturally from him. I will never forget that feeling.
That feeling is why I should be living in a constant state of gratitude. When we remove the titles, the labels, the money, the cars, the homes, and everything else that should bring us happiness, if all that we have left is the very real love and support of other human beings, what more do we truly need? No matter how our stories may have started, what we may have experienced as children, if we have love and support from others, we have to realize that we are blessed beyond belief and live in a way where we show it.