The New Kid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   MaybeMerrissa joined our lives because we were getting selfish. For years, we had beenon church aid, and now were finally on our own. We were self-reliant with moneyto spare. Our concerns turned from "Will we make it through the month?"to "I wish we had cable on all the televisions, instead of just three,"or "I need those brown shoes! The other brown shoes don't match thatskirt."

Then, Merrissa came to live with us. At first it was for afew weeks, then for a few months, and now forever. Finally, everything fell intoperspective! This eight-year-old came from a home where, at times, she didn'teat. There were strange men coming in and out, and more than likely doing thingsthat should never be done to a woman, let alone a small child. Her family (if youcould call it that) would beat her for minor infractions. She rarely attendedschool, and thus made poor grades, which caused her to have few friends. Herclothes were too small, and often were dirty or didn't match. Then she came tolive with us.

Sometimes it's frustrating because she doesn't understandcertain concepts. She forgets that we have plenty of food. She takes things thatshe wants, and hides them in her room. She tries to buy friends by giving themher things. She doesn't know how to choose clothes that match. She doesn't know alot of things, but neither did we until she came to live with us.

I wasthe youngest until Merrissa. I was spoiled and manipulative. Now, I am in chargeof her when we're not in school. I read to her faithfully. I let her help mecook. I taught her how to play dominoes. I help her pick out her clothes. I carryher upstairs to her bed when she falls asleep on the couch. I loveher.

She has made us patient, selfless, forgiving, and closer as a family.We love each other more because of her. Our priorities are focused on morepractical things. Who would have ever thought that an eight-year-old could do somuch?




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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