Unconventional Isn’t always bad.

Caitlin - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in an unconventional family.

The neighborhood my sister and I grew up in, like many suburban communities, lacked variety. Every house looked the same. The houses with red-tiled roof tops and desert landscaped yards, diligently sat day after day, housing the equally dull families. That is, accept for my house. Our roof was still red, and our cacti were just as colorful, but our household lacked a father figure. When my sister and I were around three years old, my father stayed around just long enough to help my mother build a house. After we moved in, however, my father moved out leaving my mother to raise two girls on her own.

Plagued by long work days, my mom trusted close friends and neighbors to keep safe watch over my sister and me. After years of imposing her children on the neighbors, mom finally decided we were old enough to stay home alone after school. In the afternoons, my sister and I took advantage of playing outside before my mom came home to tell us to study. Life was good in our corner house until we started being harassed by the kids down the street. For a reason unbeknownst to us, the kids would direct their bike tire into ours and toss rocks under our rollerblades. We weren’t rude kids, so it was difficult to understand why they acted so hostile.

When we explained their actions to our mother, she directed her attention to the children’s parents. She walked down to their house and explained that she was doing the best she could raising us, and asked if they would be able to cooperate by watching their children’s actions. After that there was a tremendous shift in how the kids down the street acted towards us. Instead of throwing rocks when we came near, they would scream and go inside. One day, my sister noticed that the children were gawking at our house from across the street. They were whispering to each other while pointing at our house. My sister and I were clueless as to what they were up to until they started chanting: “Witch! Witch!” Finally, they dared the bravest to touch our garage door. Making use of our two story house and a pair of walky-talkies, my sister devised a plan. When the girl ran up to place her hand on the garage, I gave my sister the signal and she opened the door, scaring the children back to their half of the street.

After that day, my sister and I realized that the kids didn’t hate us, their parents’ had an issue with my mom being the only single parent in the neighborhood. At first their prejudice bothered me, but when I saw how unhappy their family was, I did not really mind being different.