Overcoming Obstacles This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 15, 2009
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At about five years old, I understood the concept of survival on a completely different level than anyone else my age. With my dad being absent from my life, and my mom working three jobs to keep us clothed, sheltered, and most of the time fed, I was usually passed off to relatives to look after for days or even weeks at a time. On the not-so-rare occasion when I was at home alone, I learned many important things the hard way, such as, everything has a consequence. If I don’t conserve the food I have, I’ll starve. If I don’t lock the door, our things will get stolen. The eject button on the VCR gets that damn Barney movie to stop perpetually playing. But most importantly, I learned how to take care of myself without the aid of anyone else, especially my absent dad.

I remember he used to be around at one point, but then he just seemed to vanish. I began to see him less and less until I realized it had been over a year since we’d seen each other. When he was around, things were never quite right. I didn’t understand why my mom got so upset when my dad called me the usual Brittney-Lisa-s***!-I-mean-Lacey combination I was so used to. Although most of the time, it was just easiest for him to call me Darlin’. To this day I cringe whenever someone calls me that. I didn’t understand what was so wrong with my dad’s cigarettes. I mean, my mom smoked too. Although my dad’s cigarettes were much smaller and had a very unfamiliar sweet smell to them. I also didn’t understand why my mom made him choose between his “cigarettes” and me. But most of all, I didn’t understand why I wasn’t his choice.

Now, I completely understand it all. Its been about a year since I saw my dad for the first time since I was five. He flew to Arkansas from Virginia to “be here for me” at my grandfather’s funeral. “Hey Darlin’” he stammered out of his car and leaned down to give a tequila and vodka reeking hug. His flesh had a grey tint and was covered in wrinkles. He stayed drunk and God-knows-what-else the whole time. After the funeral, I drove him to his motel to say one last goodbye. We both knew this would be the last time
we saw each other before he went back to his Lacey-less life. His apologies slurred as I helped drunkenly climb the stares to his motel room. We finally reached the top of the seemingly endless staircase. He gave me one last pitiful, apologetic look and then barfed his dignity out all over the door mat to his room.

Two things my dad has always been excellent at : Making horrible situations unbelievably worse, and motivating me to never ruin my life the way he did his.
As of right now, I’m a senior in high school with straight A’s, no drug or alcohol addiction, and I defiantly no child I‘m not fit to raise. And I don’t have a child that I’m not fit to raise. I’m already ahead of him and my life has barely begun.

I play secretary for my step dad’s credit card business, answering phone calls from million dollar businesses such as Commission Soup and Chase Visa, asking if he’ll accept their 2.3 million dollar offers. We just moved into our newly built 6 bedroom house on 5 acres of land. Quite a change from the 1 bed room, frequently broken into, apartment in South West Little Rock in which my mom and I used to reside. The original house plans included an elevator, which my mom had our builder convert into a huge pantry that she keeps stocked to the brim with food., her silent promise that we’ll never have to go with out food again.

My mom and I have overcome our obstacles of my dad’s abandonment. We are much stronger now and see the world from a different outlook. After all, that is why God gives us obstacles is it not? I believe they are put here to prove to ourselves that we can make it through anything. I’d like to tell you and an equally happy ending about my father now, but sadly I can’t. Contrary to what fairy tales and movies want us to believe, happy endings don’t just happen. I believe you make them by forgetting the past and stepping forward. He is living proof that if we do not over come life’s obstacles, they will destroy us.





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