Writer Victoria Barrett asked former poor kids to share the things they are grateful to have in their homes now. The responses will show you the importance of gratitude.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 23, 2020. It has since been updated.
While growing up, we don't really understand that not every family is like ours. For instance, all my friends grew up in two-parent households, but I was raised by my single mother. I didn't complain; I loved her and appreciated all her sacrifices. All my peers, however, didn't really grasp what it meant to grow up with only one parent. It meant I was making a lot of my own school lunches, had to take care of household chores and even attend parent-teacher meetings by myself. Essentially, I grew up way faster than everyone else did. When all my friends cribbed about their strict, annoying, overly protective dads, I would wonder what it was like to have one in the first place. Would he teach me how to ride a bicycle? Or congratulate me when I get my driving license? Or help me with my school projects? I didn't know.
When I was much older, my mother got remarried. I finally had a dad. And I savored every moment I could with him. Whether it was debating politics, going on late-night runs for ice cream, or learning how to change the oil in our family car, I at long last had a glance at what my life would have been like if I had a father. I was immensely grateful. But not everyone recognizes that they should be grateful for the things they have in their lives. In order to highlight this, writer Victoria Barrett took to Twitter and asked, "Former poor kids: what are some things you have in your house that you never had as a kid, things your not-poor friends would never consider luxuries?" And the responses came flooding in. From things like (you guessed it), a loving mom or dad, to the most basic of necessities like a toilet, individuals explained what it was like to grow up without some things that their friends probably took for granted. If anything, this viral Twitter thread is a wonderful lesson in gratitude.
Also, this is not a "thing," per se, but having pets that you're able to care for responsibly, spay/neuter, and tend to their veterinary needs. I think back at my childhood and it makes me want to cry.— Martha (@marthakimes) January 20, 2020
Silence—no TV blaring, no one yelling, no babies crying. Peace—no one is angry or stressed because of our home. Safety—no sense of danger or insecurity. Those intangible things stand out more than the material objects.— Erica Waters (@ELWaters) January 20, 2020
Snacksss omg. Not eating the same thing over and over until you get sick of it. Having the option to eat healthy. Eating out at non-chain restaurants. Clothes that fit (harder being plus sized as a kid)— assata shakoochie 🌱 (@sailorfemme) January 21, 2020
Oh my goodness, where to begin? So many things. A toilet, for starters. My family couldn’t afford to install indoor plumbing until I was 19 and no longer living at home.— Cheryl Strayed (@CherylStrayed) January 20, 2020
Air conditioning, dishwasher, disposable stuff like paper towels to clean with instead of rags that were shirts or socks, ice maker, and I would add the tangential luxury of good grocery stores in an easy commute with good produce and international food.— Lesley Carhart (@hacks4pancakes) January 20, 2020
Having enough toilet paper. My kids think I am weird and that's okay. They don't know that toilet paper was my kleenex, my paper towels, my cotton balls, my toilet paper. I strive to never run out and feel that I am very fortunate while doing it.— FeralTwin (@FeralTwin) January 20, 2020
I don't have kids (a choice that is much more feasible for me to make than it was for my mother, socially and financially) but I've found 'when do you change a diaper?' is a huge indicator. The answer for helping care for my youngest sibling was 'when it's about to start leaking'— Just Amanda *🎨🖌️daily quotes from kids in cages* (@juuust_amanda) January 21, 2020
Seconds— Amy Dickinson (@AskingAmy) January 20, 2020
Bulk items. We never had space or money to stock up on stuff like we do now. & a washer and dryer.— *Linda in Italics* 🇩🇴 (@linluv5) January 20, 2020
Stairs. I was convinced that only mansions had more than one floor.— Stacey Filak, recovering from ConFusion (@staceyfilak) January 20, 2020
My wife couldn't understand why I only eat cereal dry, and when I explained that growing up we never had liquid milk in the house she got really quiet. I don't think she fully understood just how poor I was growing up until then.— Too Big To Fail (@Too_Big_To_Fail) January 20, 2020
Only using ziplock bags once. My mom washed and rewashed ziplock bags over and over until they got holes in them. We kept them in a pumpkin jar on the counter. Didn't know this wasn't the norm til I got older— Sarah writes SPOOKY stories 🎃🍁🧛 (@therosebride) January 20, 2020