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Think We – Day 3:

September 25, 2010

In the week leading up to Free the Children‘s We Day, I will be posting one reason each day why I “think WE.” This is day three.

The story of my birth is one of those complicated, scary stories that people don’t often like to talk about. So I’ll condense it: I was born three months premature. I was very small and very sick. My mom once told me that my entire hand was the size of one of her fingernails. I wasn’t expected to live.

For most of my life, this story was just proof that I was always stubborn. But there are other sides to this story, other lessons that I’ve slowly learned from it.

First there is story of my maternal grandmother. After I was born, she swore that if I lived, she would never drink alcohol again. From Nana I learned about the sacrifices you make for family; I learned that it’s not what you surround yourself with that’s important, it’s who; and I learned to give. (She also taught me that brownies are a perfectly acceptable breakfast food. We got along pretty well.) My grandmother always gave so much of herself.

When I tell people that I was born three months premature, they usually tell me how lucky I am. It used to annoy me – it didn’t make sense to consider myself lucky for surviving something I couldn’t even remember experiencing. But as I got older, I realized just how early I was born, just how light 1 pound and 13 ounces feels in your hands (thanks to my pet hedgehog). Surviving might have had more to do with modern medicine than luck, but I do feel lucky to be alive, and even luckier when I consider the family and life I was born into. I feel grateful, and sometimes a little impatient with myself. I am grateful that I am healthy and happy and loved.  But sometimes, if I’ve spent too much time daydreaming, I feel like I’m wasting time that I could have spent helping, giving, learning, and loving.

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