So what was I thankful for, this Thanksgiving?
I was and still am thankful that my daughter isn’t like me, in one very important way.
She has gumption.
A lot of gumption.
I have always been shy and lacking in the self-confidence that one needs to put oneself out there and say: I deserve this or that.
I don’t think anything happened to me to cause this startling lack of self-confidence. I just don’t think I ever had any. Even today, I have to work very hard at having gumption. It doesn’t come naturally.
And what I remember most are events from my childhood where my lack of gumption was a real problem. Like the time I went to a friend’s house for a sleepover, when I was about 7 or 8 years old. She had two beds in her room and two big dogs that used the second bed as theirs. Not surprisingly, I was also terrified of dogs and when I was told that I was to have the spare bed – the dog bed – I didn’t question it. About 20 minutes after we went to sleep, the dogs jumped up on the bed with me!
Now a normal person would have screamed, or yelled, or said something out loud. Not me. I lay there in fear that those damn dogs were going to bite my feet, all night long. I barely slept and they never left. I was afraid to touch them or push them. So I suffered.
Now, if this happened to my daughter, with the level of gumption she shows at this moment in time – she is 3.75 years old – she would have shrieked to the high heavens, bringing the whole household out of their reverie and in to her displeasure, in about 3.5 seconds. There is no way she would put up with something that was upsetting her. And for that, I am very, very thankful. I know she can handle new situations and new people because she is willing to speak up when things aren’t right. I know that when she is somewhere without me, like at school, she will stand up for herself if needs be.
I hope she never loses this gumption and that her Dad and I manage to keep it in check so that it doesn’t lop over into the realm of total diva. If we succeed, then she will have an easier time in some situations than I ever have, which is precisely what I want for her. It’s a useful tool to be able to know what you want and have no qualms about saying so, never thinking you aren’t worthy. And for that, I am very thankful indeed.