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Far From a Fairytale

By , Little Egg Harbor, NJ
Being raised in my house, the idea of getting what you wanted was complete nonsense. Even getting what you needed could sometimes be considered a stretch. There was a rough patch where we only had enough to survive. And even as young as I was I knew that I was lucky to be able to have a roof over my head. Granted I may not be 100 percent correct with every detail I might mention, most are as vivid as me today as they were when it all began.
No child should have to watch their parents go through a divorce, but how about when the level of tension and violence are so high, the kids can’t even sleep at night? For me it used to take covering my ears with three pillows to muffle their voices. My older brother Patrick locked his door and pretended not to notice, and my younger sister Joy somehow managed to cry herself to sleep. Countless nights we would all lay there listening to the screams and smashing of beer bottles against the walls. Patrick must have been at least nine at the time when he put a hole through the wall joining our rooms together, and told us that even if his door was locked from them, he would always be there for us.
Eventually there came a time where my father finally just left, but even then their sick arguments didn’t reside. At some point after a few court dates they just ceased communication completely, but that comes later. At first things were alright, of course I was young and we all had some trouble adjusting. Gradually they got worse. My mother alone with three young kids had no job, hadn’t finished college, our car was a piece of trash and credit cards began to get declined. Some of the events to follow get a little fuzzy. My dad wasn’t more than twenty minutes away and we did see him regularly. Months went by, my mother bounced from job-to-job. At one point it was honestly so bad that we had to collect pennies from parking lots in order to get milk or bread. Yes we had plenty of donations from food banks and the child support from my father. So why we were barely holding on, I’m still uncertain, but it does seem a little shady. Eventually my mom settled in as an exotic dancer in Atlantic City. She did her best to support us and I know it must’ve been hard on her. As a child I was ashamed to tell anyone where my mommy worked, and even today it bothers me, but that job saved us. Obviously working where she did, she met plenty of guys in her life, and a few of those guys I will never forget. It was my father however who met a woman and proceeded to re-marry. She isn’t the “evil step-mom” you see on television, and they were well off for a while.
Time passed and we tried to move on with our lives. But the hurt that my mom was already carrying around from while she was growing up added to the last few years made it a constant struggle for her to stay strong for us. She went to rehab for a while after losing her license. One day I was her best friend, she told me everything, things no child should hear. The next we voluntarily locked ourselves in our room just to escape her. I was a little girl, surrounded by screams and who did I have to talk to? I wouldn’t call my childhood a nightmare, but it was far from a fairy tale. Even though things were difficult, we managed to get through the worst of times.
My father ended up eventually leaving New Jersey, he moved into Connecticut, and although he’s only about four hours away, it’s incredibly hard to see him. And even though I love him with everything I have, it hurt me that he left. It hurts that my own father works seventy hours a week and when he isn’t at work, he’s writing emails or on the phone with the boss. But I continue to try to forgive him for his busy life, and have to again remind myself that, he’s working as hard as he is, to keep the roof over my head. But that’s enough about my father, I’ve only spent so much time with him, and although I could go on about how much I love and worry about him, this isn’t about that.
Somewhere between my mom’s many jobs, we met John. Let me tell you a little something about him, John is a guy who will do anything for anyone he cares about. He has proven that to me over the years. John has gone above and beyond for my family and I. He helped my mom get sober and supported her in every way he could. John taught me how to play every sport I know, he’s the one who helps me write essays and gives me advice on anything I ask about. Although we fight, that’s bound to happen; I am a teenage girl after all. Unfortunately John and my mother have fought the same way, my father and mother did. But John never left, for good anyway. Today he doesn’t live with us, but it’s as easy as a phone call and he’ll be there as soon as he can. It may be wrong of me to have decided this already, but with news that my father has the same heart condition that killed his father, I know in my heart that I’ll always have John. Should my father be gone by the time I want to get married, John will walk me down the aisle. And John will be the one to dance with me during the father-daughter dance. We may not be blood, but John has helped me grow, when my father couldn’t be around.
With everything that happened, I had no choice but to start working to support my wants. I was eleven and if you didn’t have the hottest new item on the market, you didn’t fit in. So anything I wanted, I went out and worked for myself. I still do, at seventeen, I pay for my own phone, I buy my clothes, and books, everything I want, I do myself. But I know my mother will always be there to get me what I need. In a way I’m glad to have been raised the way I was because when it comes time to move out, I’ll be able to support myself, and there are a lot of people my age who won’t ever be able to understand what I went through to make myself the person I am today, and I’m proud of that.
Today my mother is still working a part-time job, but she’s been there for three years now. She has just begun going back to college herself, and I know every day she wakes up and gives it her all for the three of us. There are some things that have caused resentment between my mother and I, things that I can’t even begin to tell, but I love her, and I know she loves me. Our house isn’t perfect by any means, there are clothes strewn about and the dishes aren’t always done. But it’s our house, the memories in this house will definitely last me a lifetime. We’ve come a long way from the people we were ten years ago, were still might not be the best we can be. Were getting there though, good things take time, and I have the rest of my life.





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captainmorgan said...
Jan. 19, 2011 at 7:28 am
wow. wow. wow.
 
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