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By Jessica T

A Thanksgiving story

Uploaded: Nov 25, 2013

If you google the words "Michael J. Fox woman baby tree," you will find a story about Michael J. Fox, his battle with Parkinson's disease, and how he reminds himself and his family to stay positive in light of their challenges. A few years ago, he read a story in The New York Times about a woman in Mozambique who was overcome by a flood while in labor. She climbed a tree, delivered her baby, and then waited for help to come.

I do not have a debilitating disease, and I have never had to climb a tree to safely give birth. But I do have tough days around the corner as I head back to work. A few days ago, I met a struggling single mom. She told me a little about herself. She was in her early thirties with three young boys at home. She was living with her mom, working, and trying to get her college degree. She was smart and determined, but she was struggling - emotionally and financially.

I was moved by her story, and it made me grateful for the blessings I have despite the discomforts that loom ahead. With my late-thirties wisdom, I assured her that it would get better; that life can turn on a dime; and if nothing else, she was setting an amazing example for her kids. I felt immense gratitude to her for reminding me of the journey we are all on. While life can be incredibly painful, it's a journey that defines our own identities and those of our families.

I hope I showed this young woman some kindness that helped carry her through her day. She gave me so much more - a timely reflection on what I have to be thankful for and a story to carry in my pocket when the going gets tough next year. It's my version of "A woman had a baby in a tree."

What are you grateful for this season?