Day 3: Million Dollar Perspective

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Day 3: Today, I’m thankful for my childhood.

Tonight, I bartended at a private party for a couple from the country club I worked at through college. It was a high school graduation party. 150 guests, 2 bartenders, a full bar, a party planner, catered dinner, a full roasted pig, and rental machines with daiquiris and margaritas (which made the bartending pretty easy).

This house was probably the largest I’ve ever been in. Three floors, three bars, I saw four bathrooms (I stayed on the lower two levels), a grand piano, cinema room with pool table, what must have been at least an 80″ TV, arcade games, slot machines… basically the dream house you build in The Sims when you enter the infinite money cheat. The office we were bartending in was full of autographed basketballs, golf balls and those crystal trophies you get for winning a round of golf. These people have more money than they know what to do with. Their friends drive Lamborghinis and drink the top-shelf scotch.

And most of the people are pretty nice; they are the golfers I’ve known for years who refer to me in the chorus of the 80’s Jefferson Starship ‘Sara’ – no time is a good time for goodbye. They are my buddies. Plus, they tip with 20’s and I get to leave all my clothes on.

While I like most of them, they make me thankful for my own upbringing. Don’t get me wrong, I would have enjoyed wearing Loui Vuitton kitten heels at 15, but I would be a totally different person if I did. Those kids grow up with everything. They are never told no. Their first cars are Range Rovers and Mustangs, their family vacations are cruises around the world.

My parents scrounged up enough money for my first car – a 1998 Accord which I was shocked to get at 18, and the farthest we’ve ever gone is to Florida- and we stayed in my grandma’s house for 6 days because that’s as long as my parents could be gone from work. But I’m so thankful for it — and not in the way I have to be because that’s what I’ve got. I mean, I’m really thankful that my parents, neither of whom even went to college, were able to raise me to be so fiercely independent and fearless. I’m glad that I never got the Barbie Jeep I thought I would die without. I’m glad I had to grow up with used furniture, do my own laundry and eat lunchables.

We were never poor. I got the things I needed, and my parents always gave more than they could. They were in debt most of my childhood because of it.

So Day 3 is about more than bbeing thankful for my parents. It’s being thankful for the way they raised me. For them always supporting my writing, for the countless hours of “talent shows” I forced them to sit through, for my mom who would buy fabric so I could design clothes (staples and duct tape, mind you), for my dad teaching me how to drive a stick shift (well, trying really hard at least), for the family dinners out we had that we couldn’t afford, for Sunday Family day,  for the random weeknight parties that happened without notice that my parents rolled with- even ordered pizza for.

Today, I’m just thankful for the life that my parents have given me.

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