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Learn from other's mistakes.

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“Why do you live with your great-grandparents?” The question is asked, and the story begins yet again. My life began in Syracuse, New York, with my two loving parents. My mother, at 19, was not nearly ready for a child but the mistake happened and I was born. Our small apartment was too costly so at the young age of 6 months I moved to Long Island, New York to live in the basement of my grandparent’s house. This was good because my parents could hand me over to my grandma whenever they had to make their runs to NYC to feed their heroin addiction. They constantly lied about when they’d be home, and sometimes it’d be days before we even heard from them. My grandma became fed up with this and told them to take responsibility and take care of me so they started taking me along with them to the city. My parents had the cops constantly coming to the house in search of them as they were big shoplifters also. My father had frequent “business trips” even though he didn’t have a job. Even at a young age, I knew that this was another one of their many lies. He was in jail. When I entered preschool this was beneficial for my parents with my mom working full time. I could never have friends over because I had to go into NYC with my parents to get their drugs right after school. I would stay locked in the car watching them talking to the “guy that lived under the bridge” or so I called him. Then we would go to McDonald’s for dinner and maybe stop by Home Depot, a major stealing spot of my parents. If I wanted something, they’d tell me to just put it in my pocket, and I thought this was normal. At home, my parents fought constantly. One night I walked out of my room to see my mom hit my dad over the head with a frying pan, and I started sobbing as I ran back into my room. The only comfort I had was to play my tape that my grandma had made me of my favorite music, trying to drown out the sound of my everyday life.

Music became my escape, my way to get out of this world and go to a far off place where everything was perfect. Where I would be able to play with my friends and my parents would love each other.

Some mornings while my mom was at work, I would walk into the living room and try to wake my dad but he wouldn’t move. So I would just play by myself until my grandma would come down and take care of me or until my mom came home. My parents had friends over to do drugs together, and I had to wait in my room. I was a shy but very curious little child by the time I was 7 so I tried to listen through their bedroom door and peak out of my room. I found the “room with red lights” which was usually locked but one day left open. This room I later realized was where they grew weed.

My parents did truly love me, but they loved their hard drugs more. One vivid memory of mine is when our car broke down, which it did a lot, and my dad said he would go get help. I was 7 years old and scared. It was the city at night, on a silent road. The hours went by as I stared at the road. My mom turned on the radio and started to sing trying to brighten the mood, but my eyes were fixed upon the road. I got tired, but I wouldn’t fall asleep and neither would my mom. “Mommy, why is daddy taking so long?” I said and my mom broke into tears and hugged me. I knew something was wrong; he never took this long before. We stayed up all night crying and worried until morning when my mom called her friend to come pick us up. We went to her friend’s house and I sat watching T.V. as my mom talked on the phone and she started yelling and crying. Once she got off the phone I listened as she told her friend that my father had gotten to a pay phone, called his friend, and went to get wasted. He had abandoned us.

Soon after this event my father was wanted for some crime so we packed up, my parents stole all my grandparent’s credit cards and ID’s, and we headed for Rhode Island. By this time I was in 1st grade, and everything was spiraling downhill fast. The fighting and stealing had gotten worse, along with the heroin use. My mom stole from her job so she was now unemployed. In Rhode Island, child protective services saw that these were no conditions for a child to be living, and they had sent warnings to my parents. Too busy with their drugs to see, they ignored these. My great-grandma, however, came to visit for Easter and quickly saw I should be taken away. My parents were on the verge of jail, and I was about to be taken to foster care. So, she took me to live with her in Syracuse. I thought that this was just a visit, and that I’d be going back to live with my parents soon.
But now, at the age of 16, I still live with my great-grandparents. I have seen my father once, and he is currently in jail somewhere near me for 3rd degree theft and possession of illegal substances. My mother I have seen a few times in the past nine years, and she is enrolled in an 18 month rehab in California.

Today I look back to my childhood to learn from my parents’ mistakes. Drugs can ruin a person’s life and the lives of their loved ones…forever.





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