I’m one of those girls. You know the buzz kills, the mothering types, the girl caught yelling, “Do you know what that cigarette is doing to your lungs?” or “Get down from there before you hurt yourself!” But it’s not because I don’t think people can’t take care of themselves or because I’m simply anti-fun, its because I love my friends and I learned early that everyone needs to be loved.
In the beginning I didn’t have what you would call a stable childhood. I was never that kid with a lot of toys or lots of friends but don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because while all little kids were learning the difference between necessities and wants, I was realizing there was a necessity missing from the list. I believe that we need love as much as food, clothing or shelter.
My mother’s from a big Italian family that all used to reside in a small town in northern New York. So you can understand how crazy it seemed to everyone when my she decided one day to pack everything she could fit into a little Camero and move across the country. With no money and away from everyone she knew, 12 years later my mom was thrown a massive responsibility; a child. I wasn’t exactly planned on but it was okay because she had a great guy she was living with and assumed she’d marry but life always throws you those odd curveballs.
I don’t hold any grudges against my birth father. He’s a great guy just bad at relationships and you would be too if one day when you were growing up your parents just decided that they didn’t want to be parents any more so they up and left. He didn’t have the love he needed and I’m sure that when those who are supposed to love you decide they don’t, it must make it hard to devote your heart to someone again. So when my mom found out he was cheating on her the only thing she could do was go back to her family who were now residing in North Carolina.
She hadn’t seen her parents and siblings but one or twice every year for the past decade but there she was with an 11 month old baby, barely any money and no real possessions to speak of. My aunt took us in. For two years my aunt gave us shelter while my mom worked for food and clothes but it will always be the love that I remember. The love of my family who took us in and helped us get on our feet, the love of a man who I now call my dad who gave me, a girl who wasn’t even his own daughter, everything and loved me like his own, and the love of my mother who took care of me, who gave me everything she could, who was and still is my best friend.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.