I remember it like it was yesterday.August 2nd 2003 the day my entire life was changed. I saw my mom gathering a few of her things, packing them into a bag. Where was she going? She was leaving. Leaving my baby brother and I. I was so confused.
I’ll never forget those words: “I’ll be back, I promise. I’m going to the hospital”. As I watched her drive away, her words were like a song on repeat in my head. My family gathered around, hugging, and trying to explain that this was for the best.A seven year old, standing there, unsure of what just happened, I felt lost. All of a sudden, I heard the sound of my six month old baby brother crying. All I knew to do was take him inside and play with him.
She said she was coming right back, right? I didn’t think I had anything to worry about.
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. It was the first day of my first grade year. Still wondering when my mom would come home, my dad would try to reassure me by repeating that “she’s in the hospital, she is sick right now.” I couldn’t warp my mind around why she was sick for so long. As time passed, my dad said we could go visit my mom in the hospital over the weekend. That’s the weekend my perspective on things changed.
I was so young, so innocent. Why were these things happening?Why was she in that hospital? I needed answers. I began asking my mom questions. “Why have you been sick for so long?” “Why does this hospital look different than the one my brother was born in?” She would try to reassure me by saying “this is a fun hospital, where you get extra help on getting better.” But, why could I only see her on the weekends? She wasn’t in a regular hospital. She was in rehab.Time flew by, Muffins with Mom turned into Muffins with Grandma.
I remember looking around, seeing everyone else happy with their mom. Why was my mom so sick? Why is my mom different? This was my new normal. Time began to fly by and before I knew it, her nine month stay in rehab was over.She was out, had a place to live, and a job. I was overjoyed! Finally, I get to live with my mom again. Wrong.I thought my dad was so mean for not allowing me to stay with her.
I didn’t understand. Weekends became my favorite. That’s when I got to see my mom. Soon after, she got a new boyfriend who began living with her. Weekends weren’t as fun anymore. She would just stay in her room with him. One night, my baby brother wouldn’t stop crying.
I tried opening the door to get to my mom, but it was locked. Eventually, I was able to get into my brother’s crib. I was too small to pick him up, so I just held him until he fell back asleep. Wondering why my mom’s door was locked, I found a knife and unlocked the door. All of the sudden, strange smells surrounded me. On her dresser, there were weird things I had never seen before. That’s the night I found out what drugs were.
That’s the night I had to grow up and be a mom to my brother. Things only began getting worse. My dad found out and wouldn’t allow us to see her anymore. He would ask me questions and I would just deny everything. I was scared. I didn’t want to see my mom leave again.Throughout the next ten years, my family went through ups and downs.
My mom was in and out of the house. With my dad then with a new boyfriend. Sometimes, I didn’t know where she was. The next ten years of my life, I had to take care of myself and learn to be a mom to my brother. I had to hide things from him. Makeup stories about where mommy was or what she was doing. I wanted to give him the childhood I never had.
But, things were getting worse. Ten years later, January 2014, my mom was sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by nine months in rehab.Drugs took over her life. Growing up, I never really appreciated my mom. I have had so much anger built up. I wasn’t like a daughter to her anymore. I was tired of all the lies, the secrets I had to keep, and having to be a mom at such a young age.
Why did she do that to me and my brother? The ones that love her unconditionally, yet we had to grow up without a mom.Here I am, eighteen, and a senior in high school. I’ll never be able to redo this year. My mom will not be here to help me pick out my dress for homecoming, help me get ready for prom, help me with break-ups, hold me when I lost my bestfriend, or watch me graduate. All of the things a little girl dreams of doing with her mom.Every day, I make a decision to be a different person than her. The mistakes she made along the way are not mine.
They have molded me into the woman I am supposed to be. All of these obstacles make me a smart decision maker. Through this obstacle in my life, I have thank God each step of the way, for helping me realize that after everything I have been through, I am now a stronger person. I know what I don’t want in my life and I know what I do want. With God, I am excited to leave my past behind and change my future
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