This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of MassMutual. All opinions are 100% mine.
My great grandmother just turned 93 years old last month. In those 93 years she’s been through more pain, sacrifice and disappointment than I can imagine. She’s also been through a whole lot of happiness.
I’m so glad I got the chance to live with her in high school because I learned so much about my history. My great grandma told me stories of how she was the first person in her family who could read and how she wanted so desperately to be a nurse but she couldn’t. She was the oldest girl of 9 so she had to stay home and take care of her siblings. She never made it past the third grade.
I remember her telling me how proud she was when her family was able to move into “town.” Town being North, SC population of about 1,000… even less when she was a child. She grew up in the country. She lived in tin houses that we see on movies like Ray and the James Brown biopic. Houses that we couldn’t imagine having to live in alone, much less with 11 people.
She tells me stories about her grandmother and her father who I never got the chance to meet. Stories about how their determination made life better for her and her siblings and how her determination made it better for my grandma, who made it better for my mom, who made it better for me.
My family has changed quite a bit since those days of her parents struggling to make enough to raise their kids “in town.”
Because of each generation’s sacrifice the next has done much better. My mom didn’t go to college but she sacrificed a lot so I could. My grandmother didn’t go to college until I was in high school but she raised my aunt who became a doctor.
I can say with certainty that everyone in my family has made a sacrifice for me to be where I am today. Whether it was my aunt giving me money and a car or my cousin letting me crash at his house rent free through college. My village came through for me.
Because of them… my ancestors who survived the rough journey from Africa to America, the ones who survived slavery, my great grandma, my grandma, my mom, my aunts, my dad, my brothers, my cousins… everyone who has sacrificed something so I could type these words. For them, I refuse to be anything less than successful and I’m taking my entire family on vacation one day.
Join BGB and MassMutual in celebrating Black History Month this February. Let me know in the comments how your family has made you who you are today or head to Facebook and Twitter with MassMutual using #JourneyOfYou.
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