This I Believe

Rachael - Suwanee, Georgia
Entered on November 27, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

“Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.”

~Paul Pearshall

My parents divorced when I was seven years old, and they each remarried within the next two years. Although I do not believe divorce is something that should be taken lightly, I think that I have been blessed by my parents’ decision to split. Upon both of their remarriages, I was “adopted into” the families of both my stepmother and stepfather. They are all wonderful people, and I am glad that I was given the opportunity to have even more caring and loving relatives in my life. Even though my family tree is a little crazy and mixed up, I strongly believe in not taking my family for granted.

Over the years, there have been various quarrels in my family that have slowly pulled my relatives apart. A few years ago, I began to realize how far things had gone when my older cousin, Jennifer, had resorted to calling me, her fifteen year old cousin, for help. I answered the phone call to her sobs, as she began pleading me for help. She was stranded in Florida in the middle of a hurricane with her newborn daughter, Sierra. Her boyfriend had taken the car and left them there. Jennifer had tried calling her mother multiple times, but she received no answer. She had tried calling our grandparents. Still, no one picked up. She needed help. I was young and unable to do anything directly, so I decided to see if I could get in touch with my grandparents. They answered my first call. This was strange to me because Jennifer had said that they didn’t answer any of her phone calls. I began frantically explaining the story to my grandmother, because I figured that she would be able to do something to help. She interrupted my explanation and began to tell me that Jennifer needed to get herself out of her own mess. She said that they had ignored her calls, and that Jennifer would have to figure something out. I hung up the phone in complete shock. I knew that some of my family members were disappointed with a few of Jennifer’s decisions, but I would never have expected minor disagreements to be enough for my grandmother to turn her granddaughter away in a time of need.

My grandmother and my cousin are still not on great terms, and it breaks my heart to think about my family treating each other this way. I would hate for my relationship with any of my relatives to ever come to such measures, and I hope that they will soon understand that no argument should be able to break a family’s bond. Witnessing their argument unfold, I have realized that you should never take your family for granted.