This I Believe

Julia - New Castle, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 27, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I Believe

Childhood is a promise that is never kept.

–Ken Hill

This I Believe: I believe that children should be children and adults should be adults. I believe that a child should not have to grow into an adult before it is his or her time to do so.

Throughout my life, I have had many learning experiences. Whether the experience was as small as riding a bike or as big as losing a loved one, I have experienced it. The experiences that I have encountered are what make me who I am today. People will look at me and say, “Wow, she has a great life and nothing has ever gone wrong for her.” I would love to tell these people how wrong they really are. I am the last person to “brag” about the horrible things I have encountered in my life. Sometimes I wish that it could have been different, but then I look back and I say to myself, “You wouldn’t be who you are today if you didn’t have to go through it all.”

I was born into a great family, that is other than my mother and father. My mother and father soon divorced after I was born. My father then went in and out of jail from then to now, where I am nineteen years of age and is still there until I graduate college. My father has done it all: drugs, stealing, abuse, etc. If you can think of it, then he has more than likely done it. My mother is not much better. She moved in with a man she met when I was two years of age and I am sure you can imagine that my family was not too happy with this. They were together for thirteen years and had two sons together but he was not the best man a woman could get. He not only beat my mother but, he also beat my brother and me often. My grandparents tried so hard to get me away from this environment but my mother would not press charges. Therefore, I was stuck there.

My mother has been on drugs throughout my entire life and I have witnessed every minute of it. I have seen things a child should never have seen, such as: people coming in and out of the house, things used for drugs, drugs themselves. Every time this was happening I tried to get my mother to let me go stay with my grandparents. Sometimes she gave in, but others she refused. Eventually, when I was thirteen years old I got very sick. I lost a significant amount of weight and I was taken to the doctor. My doctor told my mother and my grandmother that I was depressed because of my living environment.

Doctor Flores explained, “If Julia does not get out of this living environment and move with her grandparents, she will become anorexic and have to be admitted into the hospital, and put on feeding tubes.”

At first my mother refused, but eventually realized she had to let me go. I have been with my grandparents for the past six years and I am very thankful for them.

As young as ten years of age I was forced to become an adult. My mother and her boyfriend were already leaving me home alone to watch my younger brother. I did not have the luxury of hanging out with friends or having sleepovers. I was either babysitting or cleaning the house. When my youngest brother was born things only got worse. I had to get up earlier in the mornings before school to dress and take my brother to the babysitter. After school I was stuck at home to feed, bathe and take care of my brother. Basically, I was his mother.

Though becoming an adult at a very young age has made me a more mature person today, I would have loved to have just been a child. I believe that a child has the right to be a child as long as possible. It is not the child’s responsibility to become an adult and take care of adult responsibilities. To this day I resent my parents for putting me through all of the hell that they put me through, but I know it has made me a stronger person. I work harder than most people to get where I want to go in life. Most statistics show that children who lived my lifestyle would go down the same path as their parents, but I proved the statistics wrong. I knew that the only way to get somewhere in life was to do well in school and to have a good head on my shoulders. I want to be hope for all of the children in the world who have or are currently going through the same or similar experiences. You never forget but it gets somewhat easier with time.