My life is different because my parents smoked. I remember when I was young around 4 or 5 years old, blowing out my candles with the secret wish of hoping my mom would quit smoking. I remember for the next birthday or Christmas asking for my only present to be for them to quit smoking.
I remember a couple of friends and I always would talk about how we hated how are parents smoked. Then it was her birthday party, her mom was outside with her best friend the cigarette and I remember my friend taking one from the half empty box just to try it. We were only in third grade. I remember crying, I remember being upset and I remember how much that impacted how much more I hated every box of cigarettes. I also remember my third grade birthday and wishing for my parents to quit smoking.
I remember in 5th grade when my brother was in high school, us begging our mom to quit smoking. I remember us plotting ways to take her cigarettes without her knowing. I remember her telling us she was going to quit, telling us her quit date, I remember her never quitting and I remember the first time I saw my brother smoking – who soon began smoking with her. I also remember feeling alone now that whole my family smoked and I remember wishing for my 13th birthday that they would all quit smoking.
I remember in high school, when smoking in restaurants in California was banned. I remember having to wait while my parents finished their cigarette in order to go into dinner or having to hurry to pay the bill or being left to pay the bill so my parents could run out after to have a cigarette.
I remember going to college and seeing people smoke and hating it! I remember the false promises of the quit day that I no longer cared about but I still wished it would happen. I remember learning about it when seeing smoker’s lungs in anatomy and thinking that could be my mom or dad or even my brother. I remember hoping it would never be them.
I remember getting the phone call that my mother was in the hospital and that she had a tumor on her lung and spine. I remember booking the flight from DC to California. I remember planning on moving my life back to California with the news that my mother has extensive small cell lung cancer. I still wish she would have quit and now that she has I wish it was not too late.
I believe that every moment should be savored because you never know where life will take you, I believe that smoking not only affects the smoker but everyone involved in that persons life and I believe that nicotine has too much power because it has the power to change everyone’s life. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.