October 19, 2011
By , Clinton, CT
“I'm sorry, but next year you are going to have to attend public school.”

These words felt like the end to my life. My days involved nothing other than my mom waking me up to start my school work, eating a home cooked meal for lunch, and learning math, reading, writing, and history from my mom. Since we spent every day together, my brothers and I could read each others' minds. When our dad said we would be going to Florida for vacation, we automatically knew that meant going riding Splash Mountain at Disney World with our favorite Aunt and Uncle. And then at night eating my Aunt’s famous home cooked lasagna. When I learned my mother had enrolled in a new nursing program to earn her RN degree, I broke down crying. My fate was imminent: I would actually have to go to a public school.

Fast forward three months and I'm sitting in a doctor's office, trying to figure out why I've been waking in the middle of the night and getting sick. “You have post-traumatic stress disorder, which is why you've been sleep-walking, waking up in the middle of the night and becoming ill,” the doctor said. I sat there contemplating what my doctor had just told me. Other than the fact that I had come home from school everyday miserable because I wasn't being taught by my own mom with my brothers who knew me inside-out, I had no answer as to why this was happening.

“Do you think this has anything to do with you going to school?” My mom asked me.

Sitting there contemplating what I was just asked, I finally came to grips with what I was just told. My brothers sat me down to give me a reality check.

“Gab, we all had to do it," Crick said. "We know what you're going through. You're not alone. Ohana means family, family means no one gets left behind,” Bobby added.

Hearing these words from my brothers, some of the most influential people in my life, helped me to see that if they could see the positive, I would be able to as well. No, I would not be with my family as often as I used to; however, I now knew that no matter what I could always depends on my brothers to help me when needed. I began to look at going to school in a more positive way, and eventually came to realize that it wasn't so bad after all. I even began to enjoy myself and feel like I fit in.

Gradually, as the years went on and my life changed, one thing remained the same. A quote from a movie that some wise people once told me. Throughout the death of our beloved family dog, the heartache of my parents' divorce, and the beautiful recent birth of my oldest brother's three month premature daughter, I could always count on these words to get me by. Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind.

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