Every single Christmas for as long as I can remember, my papaw has refused to tell anyone what he wants. We beg for months, we try to sneak answers and when all else fails, we threaten him with no presents at all. His response to the ultimatum is always, “I don’t care. I have everything I could ever want and I don’t need anything else.”
As a child and teenager, I never understood how anyone could have everything they could possibly want. I would look around the room at what he considered his world and I wasn’t impressed like he seemed to be. This “everything” he had was something I couldn’t understand. As an adult, or whatever I am right now, I appreciate the simplicity of his life.
He has a shed of tools from his old garage, a truck in the driveway, a skillet to fry bologna in and a rusty tractor he used to haul me around on. He doesn’t have everything but now I see what he sees.
This “everything” he always had was us, it was me, it was family. It’s the food on the table, the dogs barking, the nails being hammered into a roof by a three year old (that’s me). It’s a gravel driveway, shirts from the Goodwill, my car safely parked at home. His happiness isn’t derived by “things” but instead by moments, memories and stories attached to the air hoses and lug nuts that clutter the yard.
I’m so thankful that I grew up kind of poor. I’m thankful I grew up with a tiny little family that shared so much love. I’m thankful that I have great people to look up to who have shown me the value of life. I’m thankful that I was taught to stop and smell the roses and to not worry about receiving them. I’m thankful for my papaw’s selflessness, the wrinkle between his eyebrows before he starts to cuss and yell, his knowledge, his wisdom, and most of all his love.