An Interview With My Cousin

January 4, 2011
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Just imagine seeing your father die when you are only in second grade. Then picture your mom remarrying only a couple years after. And then visualize your mom giving birth to your new half-sister, Lena, who is 13 years your junior. This is exactly the situation Ari, 15, is in right now.

“I like it, but it’s really hard,” says Ari, describing what it is like having a sister that is 3 years old. “My parents just wanna dump her with me sometimes.”

Most girls Ari’s age babysit to make money. But for Ari, it’s a daily struggle balancing her social life with her mother’s wishes.

“Recently, I was going out with one of my friends,” Ari says. “And my mom’s like, ‘Can you take Lena?’ And I was like, seriously? I’m going out with my friend Dylan, who’s this senior guy. I’m NOT bringing a three-year-old baby with me. She didn’t get it.”

Unfortunately for Ari, being left with the baby has been a daily part of her life the last 3 years. Ari becomes Mom on shopping trips, beach days, and even just hanging out with friends.

If Ari’s dad beat his cancer, her life would not be like it is today. “I wouldn’t be living in Maine,” she says. “If he was still alive, everything would be different.”

This includes her half-sister, Lena, who wouldn’t be born.

Even though Ari faces hardships in dealing with her sister, she still hasn’t given up on having kids in the future. “Of course I am still considering having kids,” she says. “But if I have more than one, their ages won’t be too far apart from one another.”

And Ari is still optimistic about her future. “I’m thinking about going to college outside of Maine,” Ari says. “It will be good to get away from my family for a little bit.”

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