Family Ties This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My childhood consisted of many happy times shared with family. As a child, Ilooked up to certain people and wanted to be just like them. One of those peoplewas my stepsister, Michele. Michele came into my life when I was about three orfour, but it wasn't until a couple of years later when we began to bond by makingcassettes of what we thought were melodious tunes, baking, making up dances, andsimply talking. Our conversations ranged from what we were having for dinner toour greatest fears. I always had a sense of security when I was with her becauseof the six year difference. Whenever we did things together, we werehappy.

We looked forward each year to the family vacation. My mother andstepfather would take us to Lake George, New York or to New Jersey for a week.The week was a very simple one, but it was the highlight of our year. We would goto amusement parks, zoos, museums, and just be together. Being with Michele mademe feel special because she always included me in anything she would do. Shedidn't mind when, after she had purchased a shirt with her name painted on it, Idid the same. Nor did she complain when I played every game she did so I couldget the same prizes that she won. Pairs of stuffed bananas, crayon banks, andteddy bears filled our home.

In my eyes, Michele was perfect, and in manyways she was. She always looked out for me and made sure I was happy. I rememberan incident when we were on the miniature roller coaster for children. In themiddle of the ride, I started crying because I hated it so much. She yelled tothe man and made him stop the ride. That day proved to me that Michele would havedone anything for me. Doing anything included helping me learn. We would playschool and she would actually teach me things.

As I began my teenageyears, Michele was there to give me advice which helped me get through somedifficult times. As my world expanded, she made me realize that my worries werenormal and assured me that I would get through them all. Her carefree attitudeeased my tension. As popularity became a ruling force in my life, Michele helpedme fit in with everyone, including her older friends. I felt like "one of thegang," which helped my self-esteem. I looked forward to seeing Michele after schoolevery day, and if she was late for some reason, I was crushed.

Michelehasn't been home after school for three years now. She has distanced herself fromthe family for a number of reasons, some of which I understand and some of whichI don't. She came back to us for a few months, but now lives in Florida with somefriends. Michele can be called the black sheep of our family, but that neverstopped me from respecting her. There are many times when I now need a bigsister, but all I have is a tape of two best friends singing "Annie" songs and afew pictures. Yet the memories keep me going.


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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