This I Believe

Nichelle - Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, love, setbacks
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Growing up in a home with a family that is labeled “dysfunctional” was more than just embarrassing or depressing. It was a constant struggle between feeling right or wrong, loved and unloved or scared and happy. Growing up, my mother battled this thing called alcoholism and my family was warped into the middle of it. Between the heart breaks and holidays I believe parents should always put their children first. I believe that every family should be filled with love and happiness, not anger and resentment.

When I think back on my childhood I remember the dance recitals, birthday parties, vacations and sleepovers with my friends. What I try not to remember is how every dance recital, every birthday party, and every vacation was ruined by my mothers need to be intoxicated. At the age of 10 my parents got separated, and naturally my sister and I wanted to be with our mom. What we did not know is that was the biggest mistake of our lives. We had absolutely nothing against our dad, he was actually the better and more outgoing parent; but he worked the night shift at the post office and was not able to take care of us. So here I am in 6th grade and I basically have full responsibility of my 6 year old sister. Every day we would go to school and my mom would work, she would come home and we would eat a microwavable meal. Usually before dinner was over my mom would inform me that I was babysitting for the night because she had errands to do. Little did I know her errands consisted of going to the bar, and sleeping over whatever guy she fell into the arms of that night. As the months passed things got worse, I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly because I was so worried about my mom. She would disappear for days at a time. Instead of having fun and worrying about fashion accessories and boys, I was worrying about what I would eat for dinner, or calming my sister down when she was scared and wanted mommy. I was so embarrassed. All of my friends’ moms were almost perfect in my eyes. They would cook meals every night, help their daughters with homework and take them shopping. Not to mention show them love and support.

Eventually, things got so horrible that the custody was actually taken away from my mom and my dad then raised me and my younger sister; which I must say was no joy ride. My dad is a wonderful man, but he is still bitter from what my mom has put him through. He is also very strict in nature because he was a military man. Talk about embarrassing when you tell your dad you’re in desperate need of tampons and bras. All in all, he raised me and my sister to be best we could be and I believe that I have turned out to be a better person than most young adults.

What I am trying to say is a child should not have to be put through what I had to endure. Ten years later I am in college and living on my own, and I am still upset about what has happened. It is not my fault, I know. I believe every family should work through problems and compromise with each other. I believe in a thing called love. I believe in home cooked meals. I believe in spending quality time together. I believe in being happy.