“You’re the worst parents ever. Just leave me alone, I’m never coming out of my room again!” It was another typical fight; I was always telling my parents that I hated them for some reason. This time it was because I wanted to go out with friends Saturday night but they had plans to go to some family thing at Aunt Sue’s house. It’s not that I minded so much, but when I set my heart on something, then that’s all I want to do. I wanted to go to my friends’ dance recital and then hang out, not be with my family.
I couldn’t believe it; it was so unfair. I honestly believed that I hated my life at that moment. The fight just made everything about the day worse. (I had overslept and flunked a chemistry test.) So when my mom came in a few hours later, all I said to her was, “Sorry, Mom, but all you two seem to want to do is ruin my life. Now, please leave.” I hardly ever felt bad for being mean to my parents. Sure, they love me and give me everything, but “everything” includes a curfew, unfair standards and constant lectures on my attitude. Sometimes I felt like I could run away and not miss them at all. I mean, why was this happening to me? All my friends get to go out on Saturday. I didn’t care if I was being selfish, it just wasn’t fair.
Later that night, I let my guard down and decided to leave my room to find some food. I overheard my parents talking and figured I’d listen, you know, to see if they were talking about what a bad daughter I was so that I could hold that against them, too.
My dad sounded upset and concerned, which caught my attention. I could hear him telling my mom about one of his students at the junior high where he teaches. The girl was an A student with an amazing personality who always put others’ needs before hers. She was always there to offer a sincere word and helpful advice. She always kept her head up and tried to be strong, even though she had just lost her father. Now it was just she and her mother, who were trying to make the best of everything.
For the last few weeks, this girl had not been in school. My dad was told she probably had mono and would return soon. When she went to the doctor, though, it turned out she had leukemia, and there was a good chance she may not make it. My father and others at school were absolutely stunned that this had happened to this beautiful, high-spirited girl and her mother, who had just lost her husband.
When my dad’s story ended I saw tears in his eyes as well as in my mother’s. I quietly went back to my room, and all I could think about was this girl and her family and what she was going through. Then, my problems fluttered back into my thoughts, and I realized how insignificant they were. So what if I failed a test? At least I have the opportunity to go to school, even if I hate chemistry. And so what if I had to miss one night out with my friends? At least I have great friends who love me and can help me get through life. I have so many things to be thankful for; how could I have been so selfish? My whole outlook on life changed that night as I realized how many things I took for granted.
After I had gathered my thoughts, I went to the living room and gave both my parents hugs. They looked at me with perplexed expressions. I didn’t blame them because it was definitely not an everyday occurrence for me to show them affection. However, this time was different.
“I love you, Mom, and I love you, Dad. I just want to say thanks for being my parents.” That said, I went back to my room and took the time to appreciate all the good things in my life. It’s just a shame I didn’t realize all this sooner.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.