“I am 14. My first memory is living with my great grandmother and my real mom. I had my tonsils taken out and was sick and missed a birthday party. My mom sat on the couch with me and we watched movies and ate ice cream. That is my only good memory of her.
We lived in a small town until I was 6. At first, we lived with my little brother’s dad. Our little brother’s dad was not a good person. He still isn’t. I was 3 or 4 and he popped my arms out of place for no reason. The last time he did it, I went to the ER because my mom couldn’t put my arm back in place. My older sister was five and she made sure we were fed. Sometimes when my mom and sister were gone, my little brother’s dad would chase me around the house when he had no clothes on. My mom didn’t say anything to anyone about it.
When I was little, I didn’t know anything was wrong. When we started living with Nana, my grandmother, I didn’t know my mom was doing drugs. She went to rehab and didn’t come back. She was kicked out for smoking. She sent us a letter but I don’t know where I put it and forgot what it said. That was the last we heard of her. I was six the last time I talked with her. I want to ask her how she could leave both of us and put all of this on my grandmother. My sister and I have lived with my grandmother for eight years and she has done more for us than she will ever know. Nana is always there.
I would like to think my mom has changed and would come back and start over, but I know that is not going to happen. Drugs destroy families. I don’t know why she started the drugs. Our grandmother raised her better than that. I wonder if my mom thinks of us any more. I can’t have contact with my real dad or his family. I had to take a DNA test to prove I was his child because he tried denying it so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. I want to ask him why he didn’t want a child that he brought here. I have heard he has had more kids since me. I wonder if he has relationships with them. We are trying to see our little brother, but we have to go to court to see him because he still lives with my ex-stepdad. They keep canceling the court date.
I like to sing in the choir at my church and write songs. My sister says they are more poems than songs. My favorite book is This is Where it Ends about a school shooting and the friends are separated with everyone trying to get out. I like to draw flowers and animated characters. Nana tries to teach us things like canning food to take care or ourselves.
I try to pay attention and look for ways to compliment people. Nana made us watch a video of a man who was born with no arms and he used his feet to type. He did it every day. She told us if a man can type with his feet, then there is nothing I can say ‘I can’t’ about. I want to go into the military and maybe become a lawyer to help people get their own words out and not be convicted of the things they didn’t do. I stand up for the people who are picked on at our school. It makes me feel good knowing I can make a difference and talk to both sides and help calm a situation down.
My grandparents have to play the mom and dad roles with us and never got to be the grandparents they wanted to be. When my sister and I have kids, they are going to be the grandparents and I am going to be the mama and the fun aunt. I have learned not to take for granted loved ones and the people who are there for you. I know Nana and my grandfather love me and will always be there for me, but I am afraid of no one else wanting me. It is hard knowing my parents don’t want me. If something traumatic happens in a person’s life, they close off and separate from other people. I don’t want to do that, but I want to depend on myself.”