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I was struck today for some reason by just how lucky I really am. I am going to a WONDERFUL school at a really rather ridiculous cost, accruing no debt (with this economy, I may have to take out some loans my senior year, but they'll be minimal), and I know that's difficult for my parents. While they planned well and have sacrificed things for themselves accordingly, nearly $200K over 4 years is... a lot of money. We've always lived within our means and have made good real estate investments, but I know my parents do a LOT for me to be here, when I could have been at a UC (or more likely a CSU - with my grades + personal problems in HS, I really benefited from Bates' "holistic admissions") saving them tons.
So what can I do? How can you adequately say thank you for a gift of that magnitude - not just tuition but soccer games and club meetings, 20 years of educational opportunities, never being denied the chance to take a class, go to a summer program, or buy a book? I've been very, very lucky and my parents have spoiled me. I'm conscious of money - I'm working 32hrs/wk while in school and I've worked every summer since the summer before college - but how can I adequately express my gratitude to my parents? How would you want your child to say thank you?