A Story of Gratitude

gratitude has a lot to do with our family relationships

In my studies of gratitude, I came across a beautiful story of gratitude told by Maureen Deuterma. It offers a perspective of what matter most.

Email from a Friend

I received an email from a friend of mine today sharing the good news that he had been promoted to vice president in a prestigious company.

Now, I’m not certain what this means, but added to his retired government employee pension, I’m fairly sure it translates into pretty big bucks.

Was I pleased for him? I should have been. He puts in staggering hours at work, and is extremely productive — an all around great guy. I sometimes wonder if his good wife remembers what he looks like.

Jealousy and Envy

But I wasn’t pleased. In truth, I was just plain jealous! Why him, I thought? I’m pretty productive myself, but at my annual evaluation I received a meager 4% raise and nothing resembling a promotion. I lay awake nights worrying about the hefty home equity loan I had to take out to keep the roof over our heads, literally. I pray that my college age daughter doesn’t overdraw her checking account, again. I peek at the mileage on my ’93 Camry, and tell myself that 135,000 miles is nothing for a Toyota. Instead of wishing my friend well, I was wallowing in self-pity — staring in envious stupor at the computer.

Seeing Anew

Something caught my eye. Two tattered sticky notes, attached to my computer. They’ve been there for a few years, so I don’t usually “see” them anymore. But today I saw them again, as if for the first time.

One is lime green with the message, “Have a great day Mom! I love you!” That one is from my daughter Helen. She was probably 11 or 12 when she wrote it. She’s 15 now, and besides being an excellent student, my little hospital candy striper is a beautiful and caring young woman. She still asks for a hug, and still wants her “mommy” to tuck her in at night. Now there’s something money can’t buy.

The second note is lemon yellow. This one is from my son Stephen, now 10. By the wobbly handwriting, I’m guessing this note is vintage 6 year old. It simply says, “I love you Mom.” He continues to echo that sentiment every day in a long-standing ritual. When I drop him off for school, I’ll say, “I love you Stevie”. His reply is, “I love you. Angels around you and your car!”

Putting Things in Perspective

I look around my office and see the homemade artwork, and the cluttered array of photos. I see a favorite picture of my oldest daughter Annie, except in this picture she is an awesome little blonde creature of two, clutching her stuffed cat Ming and leaning against her (wow…young!) mom. Ming hasn’t changed much over the years, but Annie has. Despite the overdrawn checkbook, she constantly amazes me with her self-motivation. I am convinced that Annie can do anything she sets her mind to, which includes making her crabby mother laugh when she needs it most. She is still awesome.

I realize with infinite gratitude that my friend can keep his vice president’s title and all the money that goes with it, with my best wishes for success.

I wouldn’t trade my title for any other, and no one in the world will ever share it. I’m Annie, Helen and Stevie’s mom. Priceless!



  1. Kent

    I been reading a lot about happiness lately, from many authors, and all agree that money has little to do with happiness. The biggest determinate for happiness seems to be loving relationships. And I am certainly grateful for mine. Thank you, Roger, for sharing this story.

    • Roger Allen

      You are welcome, Kent. I agree and you have played a part in my happiness. Thank you for your love and friendship and we wish you well at this time.

  2. Joye Whitaker

    Great reminder! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Roger Allen

      You are welcome. I hope you’re having a great Thanksgiving weekend, Joye.


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