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My grandmother always dropped her spare change in a large glass jar that she kept in her coat closet and one day, when I was very young, she asked me to count it for her. I stalled and hesitated and thought of every excuse I could to avoid rolling that large jar out of the closet, pouring the coins on the floor and counting them one by one. She insisted and eventually I obliged.

When the coins were counted and the total was relayed, she gave me a plastic bag and told me to fill it up. She drove me to the store and told me to pick out whatever I wanted. In spite of the complaining and the reluctance, she wanted me to work for the reward. She wanted me to see that sometimes the reward is in the work. She wanted me to realize that oftentimes the reward is already in front of us.

There are times where I struggle with the things I want instead of focusing on the things I have, where I get lost in the daydream instead of finding my footing to chase it. I always think of my grandparents this time of year, specifically my grandmother, because she was one to listen when my head was in the clouds yet never hesitated to help me keep my feet on the ground; she held my roots and watered them, too.

Last week, we invited both sets of Madison’s grandparents and her uncles over for Thanksgiving lunch at our home. It’s a tradition we started several years ago, one that Madison looks forward to and enjoys and savors as the only grandchild on both sides of our family. The meal she helped her mother make was shared among us at the table she helped set (with our dog at our feet) and I realized again, more than ever, that oftentimes life’s reward is already in front of us. 

I hear you, Grandma, and I thank you.

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