January 9, Melissa Jenkins


I am grateful for my mother. My mom was relatively young when I was born, and so is part of the last generation of grandparents who are young and healthy enough to enjoy their grandchildren to the fullest. My children, nieces, and nephews rightly note that my mom is way cooler than any of their parents. Generations of former students and co-workers proudly refer to themselves as her adopted children.

I knew little about my mom’s difficult childhood until my adult years, and I understand now that this was by design. My mom wanted my engagement with the world to be full of love instead of bitterness, and she wanted my view of my home state to be untarnished by what she knows of its segregated and violent past. These are, by no means, my stories to tell, and I will not share them here. I will only say that her loving approach to introducing me and my siblings to the world’s workings is why we possess a healthy mix of awareness and hope, caution and optimism.

I do have my mom’s permission to share her message to my father on the occasion of their 42nd wedding anniversary. She wrote:

“We were babies & still going strong. I prayed for my children to be blessed with loving, compassionate, supportive & God centered spouses. & God answered my prayers big time. Someone obviously said the same prayer for me.”

My mom embodies grace and models the best of what a gratitude-centered world-view makes possible. I’m not sure my mom is aware of the extent to which the blessings she enjoys are the direct result of the blessings she bestows on others. What I do know is that her children and grandchildren want nothing more than to make her proud.

–Melissa Jenkins

Winston-Salem, North Carolina


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