3 years, 8 months, and 12 days. Happiness is being grateful.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Truth be known, my siblings and I are an accomplished lot, but we are a bunch of malcontents.  We are perfectionists.  (No, that does not automatically translate to us expecting others to be perfect … just ourselves.)  We are educated.  (Yes, an ungodly number of us have doctorates [5] and master’s degrees [8].)  We are relatively successful.  (Our number includes a physician, a lawyer, a college professor/assistant dean, and a bunch other educators.)  But, malcontents we are nevertheless because we were not taught to be grateful. We were taught to push ourselves…to strive for perfection.  That is an incomplete life lesson.

I am teaching you to be grateful.  Be thankful for what you have.  Push yourself to be better, but be grateful for what you have — your health, your wit, your sense of humor, your brother who loves you, your mother who loves you, your dad who loves you, your relatives who loves you and are there for you, your friends, a home that is safe and warm, food so that you do not go hungry, a safe environment so that you do not have to duck bullets nightly, water, clean air, grass, trees, etc.  I have met children who had spent their entire lives behind the barbed wires of the “refugee camps” into which they were born, who had never felt grass beneath their feet, experienced the wet nose of a puppy, felt the wind blowing through their hand and hair as they drove through the countryside, splashed in streams to catch guppies and crawdads, etc.

Be grateful.  It is the key to happiness.

I am grateful every day for you.

All my love, always,

Dad

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