Roots

Dear Future Husband,

Today has been a little slower than usual and I’m sitting at my desk with my iPhone quietly playing Rita Ora on Pandora while I eat my assortment of organic foods. My office is nestled comfortably in a new high rise of the Business District of downtown. The city is bustling below me and the sun is shining through the lobby windows.

Silently, I’m thankful for my life right now. I’m employed at a respectable firm, a great man, friends, health and my family. My sister is healthy as well as her new baby, she has a good job, degree and her boyfriend is doing well to provide for them with new cars and an even newer house. My brother is finishing his last year of college, has a flexible job and volunteer activities to keep him busy. My mom is becoming used to her own “cushy” career, house, a man who takes care of her, and all three children are becoming successful.

We are happy and doing well. We may have gone through our struggles in life but we have moved passed that. The life I live now is a far cry from where I was and at one time was only an imagination of where I might be later in life.

Every time I buy groceries, I am aware that I’m able to afford the “natural,” “organic,” and “non-gmo,” products that can be exorbitantly overpriced. When I hit the checkout button online, I understand that one bag of mine is equivalent to a week’s worth of food to a family, a year’s worth of clothes for a child or can even pay bills for a household. The vacations that I take almost monthly now, I know that some people may never do in a lifetime.

When driving down the street, I see that my nicer neighborhood is only minutes from the ghetto where I lived. Where driveby’s, flashing lights, drug houses and the “soldiers” who guarded them are the norm. Where children didn’t have food and we would go to food drives just to feed other poor families and donate our used clothing to neighbors. Where seeing a five year old on the bus line to get to school didn’t worry me. You did what you had to do to survive. You either pulled yourself out from the cracks or fell through.

I understand that I am living a “blessed” life. And for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for my boss for taking a chance on a fresh faced 23 year old college student who walked into his office handing him her resume and giving me the chance to prove myself in the corporate world where I have been treated respectfully, compensated handsomely and been given opportunities that many can only hope to achieve. I am thankful for my younger sister and brother; we disagreed more than we probably liked each other growing up and I love them. Giving them the world was all I ever wanted for them, even if I annoyed them as a second mom. I am thankful for being reunited with an old friend who is slowly becoming something more. He from the beginning was a good person to me and is teaching me what a relationship should be and how I deserve to be treated. I’m thankful for my lovely coworker –now turned friend- because every brunette needs her blonde partner in crime. She’s a doll even when I’m not. I’m thankful for all the challenges, losses and the hardships I’ve endured since my childhood. I’m thankful for my faith.

But most importantly, I’m thankful for my mother. She’s the real MVP. Through the adversity, she remained my constant. She’ll apologize about everything now. But for what? She was and has remained the best mom possible, raising us the best she could in the circumstances we lived. She provided housing, clothes, food and toys. She worked odd jobs and odd hours earning minimum wage as a single mother providing for three young children-whom also were two years apart not making her life any easier- while finishing her Bachelor’s Degree. She is the silent hero without a cape coming to the rescue with a single cry of “MOM!” She’s made sacrifices in her life to make sure we didn’t have to go without. Because of her guidance, I didn’t fall into drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, a high school dropout or any other stereotypical labels people expected from us. Instead, she motivated and expected us to be better. She has held us to higher standards from the beginning being our confidence, voice of reason and assurance. Her tough but unconditional love molded us into the successful, compassionate adults we are now. I am thankful for her homemade food at the dinner table every night at 6pm or sometimes even 9pm. I am thankful for the countless loads of laundry she has done. Or when she would show up to my marching band practices with food and water yelling to come eat even when I’m in the middle of practice! Showing up to every first Parent’s Day to pick up my report card and expect A’s or I was grounded otherwise, instilling the very same work ethic she has into me and I’m just thankful for everything that she has continued to do each and every day.

I’ve spent most of the day reading the news of ISIS, a three year old refuge who drowned, drone blasts, all the while safely inside my nice building hiding from the issues of homelessness and poverty that sit outside in my very own city. I still continue to face challenges but nothing close to what I used to struggle with. I am reminded life is a lot better for me each and every time I am able to do even daily activities. I live a privileged life now but I don’t ever want to forget where I came from and how I came through it.

I am thankful.

Love,

Your Future Wife

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