By: Melissa Mensavage
Today is July 4th, Independence Day. It was on an evening stroll through the neighborhood that I really thought about July 4th, and what it meant to me.
I live in a diverse neighborhood, a nice combination of African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Polish. I love hearing the different dialects when I am walking and greeting those that I see. I have always wondered what brought these folks to America, thinking, “What opportunity was so great they willingly packed up and moved many miles away from home?”
I cannot figure out these people’s stories by how they maintain their home, or how often I see them. I do know that America naturally offers opportunities I know might not be available elsewhere.
I researched single parenting for months before making the decision to pursue it. I learned about single parenting in not only America but across the globe. I learned that, while it is not taboo in many other countries, the opportunities and resources available elsewhere were not as great as in America.
In my thought process tonight, I was having a deep feeling of appreciation and respect for Independence Day. Appreciation and respect for all the men and women who have been and currently are defending our country. Appreciation and respect for history, as it set the path for where we are today.
I found myself being thankful for the resources – donor banks, donors, support groups, doctors, nurses – which allow me to seize the single mother by choice opportunity. Though our healthcare system needs help, I am thankful that I have the insurance to help offset the costs of conceiving.
I am thankful that women can hold executive, management, or leadership positions. During my travels for work in Budapest, I was asked by another woman, “how is it that you are in your position? Hungarian women don’t have that opportunity.” I think about that statement quite a bit with mixed emotions – sadness for those women, appreciation for America.
I am thankful that I own my home. I know from all my travels around the world that housing is expensive and many people cannot afford to own a home.
I have quite a bit of pride for America. It doubled when my son was born, because without this country, I wouldn’t hear the word, ‘ma-ma’, coming out of someone’s little mouth while reaching up for me.
Thank you, America.