I remember the first time I actually believed the saying “Be careful of what you wish for,” it was the night my mother ran out on my family. What I had wished for was my own bed for that weekend soccer tournament so I wouldn’t have to sleep on a hotel cot. Before that wish, I thought it was an idiotic phrase parents said to get out of forking over more cookies to their children because they couldn’t just tell them that cookies would ruin their health. That weekend I came to learn the full understanding of it. I got what I thought I wanted except not what I needed.
My mother had been unstable for months before leaving us; for years she has been fighting depression, but in the months that lead up to her leaving it had never been so bad. Three years before that night, my father had developed an extremely rare flesh eating disease, Necrotizing Fasciitis. The disease seemed to have given my mother a distraction from her own problems, but it left me an orphan.
I understood when my dad became sick that I couldn’t be a kid most of the time. I had to find a place to sleep each night, a family member or friend to feed me, and ways to get to school and back. I couldn’t go out for the weekend and have fun even if I wanted too. For nearly a year my dad was in a hospital, with my mom right along side him until he was able to come home. My father came back from the hospital and from his illness, but my mother never really did.
When my father finally got better, I hoped I had a family back again, but it didn’t work out that way. For too short of a time I had a family to care for me, to watch over me, even just to sit and to watch TV with me. But my mother soon began to deteriorate, she fell deeper and deeper in to depression, sleeping for hours, almost to the point where it was days on end; and when she would wake up, it would only be to make herself pounds of mashed potatoes or vats of spaghetti. She became almost non-existent; again I became the parent. This seemed to be the role I played for most of my high school years. I still don’t know which was worse, having a mother always within feet me though never actually being there, or finally not having a mother at all.
I got my own bed for the soccer tournament, although nothing could have been more uncomfortable than that lonely queen pillow top mattress. I achieved my wish, getting my bed though I was without a mother. I now wish I’d slept on the cot and had my family. Now I am careful of what I wish for; and if I do make a wish, it is for something important.
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