This I Believe: Do Not Take things for Granted

Leigha - Camden, Tennessee
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

As a small child, I had a good life. My parents were together, I had a little brother, and my mom was always there to spend time with me. She would take me shopping, play Barbies with me, and we would go to the creek to swim every summer. Whatever I did with her, it was always fun. Even though I did not know it, my life was great back then. I thought I knew everything and my parents knew nothing, but I was wrong.

When I was 14, my mom became addicted to methamphetamine. She did not want to get help from anyone or go to rehabilitation. She only seemed to care about herself. She and my father ultimately got a divorce. It was very hard for me to lie in bed at night wondering if I had caused her to leave. I also wondered where she was, and what she was doing. We spent so much time together when I was little and then she would not have anything to do with me. It was as if she were dead, because I never saw her anymore.

Things eventually got better, but there is still a missing link. I had to start high school without a mom. I needed someone to talk to, someone to help me decide what to wear on a special date, and someone to give me advice about boys. I had no one for any of that.

Eventually, my father met a girl that he really liked. They dated for a while and then decided to get a house together. Kelly and I hit it off right away, because she was so much like a big sister to me. Once again, I had a sturdy family life. Kelly and I would go shopping, she taught me how to cook, and we always talked about everything. She was my “mom”.

One night my dad and Kelly got into an argument and decided to separate. I was devastated. I loved living there with both of them. That was my family and all of a sudden, it was gone.

Now my father lives and works in Louisiana. He is there, because there is not much work here for him. I do not see him very often, and mainly talk to him on the phone. As I was growing up, I used to hate when dad would tell me “You’re grounded”. Now, I would love to have him at home just to say those words.

I have been through a lot in my life, but one thing that I did learn is not to take things for granted. You do not know what you have…until it is gone. I learned to appreciate life, because you never know which particular part you would like to have back. The person I am today is formed from all the trials I have faced in my life.