Jenny - Midvale, Utah
Entered on December 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe in family, and the power they bring to my life. I grew up living a very sheltered life being the only child of a single parent. For most of my life childhood it was just me and mom, with the occasional extended family dinner. This all changed dramatically when I was 18 and my mother passed away from breast cancer. Overnight I went from being an only child, to being the oldest of 6 when my aunt and uncle unofficially adopted me.

My mother did the best she could to raise me, but being a single parent in the best of circumstances is difficult. My mother worked long hours and was not around a lot. Her own depression and physical issues made it difficult to raise a child in a supportive, loving environment. My mother was a good person; she just had an easier time fixing others problems instead of her own.

Going from a lonely, solitary existence to being the one of many was a shock to my system. But I quickly came to rely on the support, comfort, friendship and validation in received in my new family. Growing up with my mother instead of focusing on my successes and accomplishments, my failures and lack of abilities were focused on. For the first time I was being told you can succeed, you can be happy; you are capable, smart and beautiful. It took a long time for me to both understand and believe this, but once I did my life became so much easier and happier. My parents and my siblings are both my biggest cheerleaders and best friends. I have three brothers that are some of the few people on earth that can make me laugh no matter what, and two sisters that understand me better than anyone on earth. My family is the first place I go to celebrate the good or mourn the bad in life.

Feeling love, acceptance and validation for the first time in my life, has shown me what the power of belief in a person can do for their life. Believing in a person is one of the most powerful emotions you can show.