When I was nine, my parents divorced and our house was on the brink of foreclosure. My dad, with whom my four younger siblings and I lived, spent countless hours filling out housing forms, calling shelters, and looking for places to stay. Although Dad had four siblings, none offered us a hand until we could get back on our feet. Family problems had caused them to go in separate directions, and, as a result, none were very close.
In spite of it all, my dad preached that we should stick together. His motto was “All of us or none of us,” even if we were just going to the supermarket. He especially emphasized the importance of family during these hard times. He told us not to worry because we’d get through this together. He promised that if we stuck together, we’d be all right.
Naturally, like any nine-year-old, my mind wandered to playing whiffle ball and cops and robbers and whatever else nine-year-olds think about. His heartfelt words seemed to go in one ear and out the other. However, seven years have passed since that time. As my dad promised, we have stuck together and ended up all right. We stayed at a friend’s house until my dad’s numerous forms produced results and we received housing in a nice neighborhood.
Now I can understand the importance of my dad’s words. I also know that no matter what, I can count on my siblings. Sure, we have our disagreements like any other kids, but when it comes down to it, we know we can all depend on each other. That is what family should mean, and that is what matters most to me.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.