August 1, 2011

What Oprah Taught Me

Last month The Oprah Winfrey Show ended it's 25 year run with a lot of fanfare. I have watched Oprah from the beginning, and was sad to see it end. I never watched it every day, but over the years would more of often than not turn it on at 4:00. In more recent years I would tape it daily and watch it if the show's theme appealed to me.

As the countdown to the last show started, there was a lot of talk about what the Oprah show taught people (I also listen to Oprah sometimes on XM radio, so a lot of this was on the radio). People wrote or called in saying the lessons they learned over the years from watching the shows. This got me thinking, because I have certainly learned a lot myself. Some things I learned were from the experts that she had on the show, but more often than not I learned things from everyday people she had on as guests. Two of my favorite sayings that I heard on the show was "How's that working for you?" (a good life quote from Dr. Phil) and "When people show you who they are, believe them" (by Maya Angelou).

However, one of the most poignant things I learned on the show was to be grateful while making my kids' lunches. Gratitude is a theme in my life; heck, even my blog is titled "Grateful Mama" (and here is why). But even I sometimes forget to be grateful for the little things.

A few years ago, I was watching Oprah. I am embarrassed to say I don't even remember what the show was about. I *think* it was about a mother with cancer, and a friend of hers was helping her with her kids when she was so sick with the effects of chemotherapy. I may have gotten the story wrong, but at any rate, the friend was saying something to the effect that her friend, the one with cancer, tried her hardest to make her kid's lunches every day, as it meant so much to her.

That one phrase, a casual toss-away sentence, really grabbed me. It made me realize that I, too, should be grateful that I have the opportunity to make my kid's lunches:

  • There are mothers who are dead, who have lost battles with diseases or have had tragic accidents, who would have have loved to be around to make their kids' lunches.
  • There are grieving mothers who have lost their children, whether to death or kidnapping or other unthinkable happenings, who have no one to make a lunch for.
  • There are children (like my own daughter up until a few years ago) who can't eat, who depend on feeding tubes for their meals. I know when my daughter, A, had her feeding tube I would have given anything, ANYTHING, for her to eat orally.
  • There are families who don't have enough money to make their kids' lunches (or even have a home to do so in), who depend on public assistance at school to feed their kids.
  • There are mothers who are never home, who work all day and night to support their families, and have to depend on others, like nannies, to care for their children.
  • One day, maybe sooner than I would like, my kids will be grown and I will have no one to make lunches for.
Don't get me wrong; I don't jump up and down every night when it's time for me to prepare lunches for the next day. It's tedious, and hard for me to pack a lunch for my son as he is a picky eater. But I welcome it every night. I am here, I am alive, I have two precious children and a pantry and fridge full of food. It's one of the many, many ways I nurture them every day.

Thank you, Oprah.


  1. Gratitude is something I have to be reminded of sometimes. I can quickly turn into a Negative Nancy when things are stressful or not going according to plan. It's a good reminder to be grateful for all the GOOD things I have in my life (which are a lot)...

  2. That's really special & unique. Truly, one of the little things to be grateful for.
    Now I'll think of this post when I pack my lunch tomorrow!

  3. I love this post. So very true...
    Thanks for this one.

  4. This is a beautiful post. It is so important to have these reminders about being grateful, even for the tedious tasks. Thanks for sharing because I really needed to read it today.

  5. Beautiful post. I'm grateful that 24 years since high school graduation we are still in touch with each other and friends! Love ya!

  6. Hi. i came across your blog while researching semi circular canals (or lack there of). my 2yr old also born without plus many similar issues as your daughter. how can we connect via email? mine is I would be grateful to speak with you.


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