My great-grandfather, Carmine, was an immigrant in this country. He came here from Italy around 1918 — after World War ! — as he searched for a new start in a land where the streets were supposedly paved with gold.

He became well acquainted with metals but I doubt he found much gold in the street. He toiled for decades in a steel mill to provide for his wife and 5 children. He died when I was a baby and I don’t remember him at all. What I do remember is his hat that my great-grandmother kept on a side table in their living room.

I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately because, to me, he represents the sacrifice that my generation is enjoying every single day and yet I barely give it a second thought. Here’s my point — my generation has it good. Really good. Many of us live in nice houses in safe neighborhoods with food on the table, stylish clothes on our backs and options — too many, oftentimes — literally at our fingertips. Sure, things aren’t perfect. Many of us are in debt and the jobs economy has been less than dynamic these past few years. But when you stack up what my great-grandfather endured and what we endure on a daily basis, I think he would find even the tiniest bit of whining or griping or complaining by me or others of my ilk pretty embarrassing.

He — and millions of others like him — came to the United States with an unyielding work ethic and a persistent, unquenchable desire to better their lives and the lives of their family members. Each and every day that I get up and work at a job I enjoy and get to live a free and happy life with the vast majority of my needs abundantly met, I should thank Carmine and my other forebears who paved the way.

On top of that, someone recently mentioned to me the idea of writing down the blessings in my life. I will spare you my lengthy list of blessings but I do want to jot down a few, if for no other reason than to force myself to take the time and the mental thought to do it. I also challenge you to do the same thing. It’s a great way to remind yourself of the ample blessings that we enjoy in our lives and how lucky we truly are.

I’m healthy.
I’m in a happy marriage.
I have fun and happy children who love me and who I love to be with.
I love being a father.
I have a good job that challenges me creatively and mentally.
I have a job that pays me enough to support my family.
I have the time and discipline to work other jobs to supplement my income and career.
I have time and health to exercise.
I am able to afford all the food that I and my family need and want.
I belong to a church where I can practice my faith peacefully and openly.
I have an extended family who loves and supports me.
I have health insurance.
I have time to read and learn about my world.
I am often surrounded by beauty in the form of colorful flowers, vivid green grass and healthy, plentiful trees.
I am able to indulge many of my hobbies.
I am able to consider and write down my blessings.
I have had people in my life like Carmine, who were willing to sacrifice for me and give me the gift of a full, rich, rewarding life where I get to determine my fate, make my own choices and live life as I want to.


The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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