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The Start of a New Beginning
After a long day at work mom finally arrives at home. Dad is in the kitchen making supper, while the kids are quietly playing in the family room. The house was clean, almost spotless. Whatever Dad was cooking in the kitchen, it smelt delicious. Mom walked into the kitchen and she felt very welcomed.
Dad said, “Welcome home honey,” as he kissed her on the cheek.
She replied, “Thanks! How are the kids? What are you making?”
“The kids are great. I’m making your favorite, Cheesy Lasagna.”
As Mom went up stairs to change, my brother and I linked onto her legs. She gave off a giggle and with her sweet, innocent voice she said, “Hey kids, momma missed you at work today.” We giggled and went back to playing. It was time for dinner so we cleaned up our toys and sat at the dinner table anxiously. The table was already set and the fresh scent of dinner was mouth-watering. I could feel the happiness lingering around the table; that feeling that our family was complete and nothing could break us apart. If only it was all true, not just a made up story from a young girl who wanted a complete family; a girl who never got to experience a full dinner table.
Everyone’s life was easy when they were a baby, mine was as well. Until the day I woke up and my father was gone. I knew I had heard them yelling that night, but I didn’t think anything of it. My mom seemed to know where he went, but she didn’t know how to tell me.
I asked, “When will Daddy be home from work?”
And she replied, “He is going to be working for awhile.” I still didn’t understand what she was trying to tell me, I was only four years old.
He had originally had a job offer in California and we couldn’t go with him because my mom wasn’t able to just leave her job. I guess they got in a fight about it so he decided to never come back. He just left without saying good-bye. This was the start of a new beginning for me and my mom.
Life went on for us; I still didn’t know exactly what had happened. Two years later my mom and her boyfriend at the time (my brother’s dad) took to me to California to see my dad. I spent the day up there with him, wishing I never had to say good-bye. We all know good-byes are the hardest, especially when it could be forever. When giving him my good-bye hug, I wrapped my tiny hands around his neck, with a death grip, not wanting to let go. As I cried he handed me over to my mom, I began kicking and screaming like a little child would. Those crystal-like tears streaming down my face; digging my rosey red cheeks deeper into my mom’s shoulder. Before we left my dad gave me a Scooby-Doo stuffed animal, which was my size (I was six). Scooby-Doo was my favorite cartoon at this time. We took one last picture with me in my father’s arms; a picture that I still have to this day.
I would look at that picture every day, sometimes I still do. That Scooby-Doo, I still have it. I used to sleep with it every night. I would cuddle with him, squeezing him tightly as if he was my father. If he was a living thing, he would no longer be alive. He sits in my bedroom, beside my bed. I can still see my dad every time I look deeply into his chocolate brown eyes.
The next few years came by and I eventually forgot about it. Life became more difficult for my mom, being a single mother and all. Then the time came around when she met my brother’s dad, Chris. My mom and I both thought things would start to shape up for us, man were we wrong. He stayed around for awhile and then he became lazy; he never helped out around the house. He and my mom began arguing, and again I felt my heart drop to my knees. He left without ever finishing a project. He was supposed to be repairing our bathroom in our old house, but he never did finished. He tore it apart leaving holes in the floor, making it extremely cold at nights. He was supposed to be putting new flooring in mine and Seth’s bedroom, and of course never did. My brother and I had to sleep in the living room or with my mom in her bed. I heard them arguing at nights, thinking I was asleep.
I heard my mom say, “Get out of my house, now!”
“But Karen,” he said.
The sad, dreadful tone in her voice made me think, here we go again. Once again my mom and I were left alone, but this time with another child, my one year old brother Seth.
I wondered if things would ever get better for us. Things were getting really tough. We struggled for food, and could barely keep up with our rent. My mom hated her job, and as much as she wanted to, she couldn’t just walk out. She hated her boss; she hated what she did, but she put up with it for my brother and I.
The summer going into my freshman year, I had made the all star team for my club soccer team. I was so excited, and wanted nothing but to play. For awhile my mom kept saying, “No, we cannot afford this.” I was devastated, and I knew exactly who was to blame; my father. If he hadn’t left, we could have money; if he hadn’t left, we wouldn’t be struggling to keep our house. I put all the blame on my father, Donny Libasci.
My mom thought it all over and eventually said I could play. Some of the other parents offered to help in any way they could. I was so grateful; I treated each and every one of them with respect because that’s what they deserved. They didn’t have to help, but they offered. Towards the end of the summer our team qualified for Nationals which was being held in Hawaii. Again, my mom said no. She hated telling us no; she hated the fact that my brother and I had to suffer from our fathers stupidity. She didn’t think it was fair. I hated asking my mom for so many things; wasting her money, but I finally had something positive start to come out of my life. I ended up going to Hawaii with my team, and it was an amazing experience. You know that feeling you get when nothing seems to go your way and everything comes crashing down, then just one little positive thing happens and you feel like you’ve started a whole other life? Well that’s exactly how I felt at this point of my life.
My mom got a hold of my dad’s email one day. She told him how we are struggling and what a beautiful girl I have grown up to become. She told him that it’s not fair that I’m the one struggling from his absence. I have such high morals and big plans for my future, and my dad doesn’t get to be a part of it. My dad was the owner and head chef of a restaurant called The Adobe Southwestern Grill in Sierra Vista, so I knew he had money. He just refused to give any of it to me; his first child, the one who needed him the most.
My mom gave him a copy of my soccer schedule. We had a tournament coming up in Sierra Vista soon, not that he would ever really care. My mom told him that it would really mean a lot to me if he came and made up for what he had done to me in the past. I was too busy from the rush of the game; I didn’t even notice that my father had shown up. At halftime my mom came over to me and told me that he came and asked if I was okay. I was excited, but also at the same time I was really mad. Why did he decide to come back into my life now? I had to get over it because it was time to start playing the game again. I was so devastated I couldn’t pay attention to the game. We ended up winning, and then my mom had to leave for work right away.
I remember my grandma asking, “Jessie, do you want to grab some lunch with your dad?”
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.”
“Come one, I’m hungry Jessie,” she replied.
At first I really didn’t want to; I did not feel like speaking to my father. My heart was shattered; that feeling of not ever being wanted, why would I want to speak to him? He didn’t accept one bit of me so he doesn’t deserve to have my respect. It was too late for him to start accepting me now, 14 years too late. He didn’t even know the type of person I was; he never took the time to get to know me. He just decided I wasn’t good enough. I remember he, my grandma and I went to eat at McDonalds, and I still remember what I had to eat that day. I had chicken nuggets and a Gatorade to quench my thirst. The whole lunch was awkward. I didn’t know what to say, I had no words for him. The silence seemed to get deeper and deeper. It had gotten to the point where we could hear the cars pulling up in the drive through. I tried to devour my food as quickly as possible so we could leave sooner. Nobody could tell by looking at him that he was a jerk of a father, but I knew he was and I was embarrassed to be seen with him; almost like he had the words “Jerk Father” written across his forehead.
After lunch when my father was leaving I remember his soft voice telling me, “Jess I know I’ve messed up in the past, but things are going to change. Things are going to be different from here on out.” I just nodded my head, I couldn’t respond with words because I knew he was all talk and no action, and of course I was right. I learned to not believe what anybody told me until I saw the action. That’s all that my dad was, words. My dad has taught me a lot, but not in the ways that he has intended to.
At that point of my life I was about 13, now I’m 16 almost 17 and I still haven’t heard from my dad. I knew everything he said were just words running through his mouth, they meant nothing. At least not to him anyways, but it would have meant the world to me. I wish he would just understand that what he has done has affected my life in so many ways. I always get rewarded for things but can’t ever afford them because he refuses to pay Child Support. I also made the Orchesis Dance Company at school and couldn’t afford it. I want to do it again next year, but I have no money for it. Sometimes in life you are going to have to give up things that mean the most. My mom is a single mother with two kids and she will do anything to give us the best lives. She picks up any extra work that she can for more money. Recently my mom’s work had moved to Tennessee. We had the choice to follow or stay here and my mom would go back to school. She was considering moving at one point, but we wouldn’t have been able to do it. My mom is currently jobless and taking classes at Pima to get her nursing degree. Even when my mom did have a job, we struggled with money. Now it is only going to get worse; we can barley afford our rent. I plan to get a summer job to help out. Being the oldest, I feel like it is my responsibility to step up. I am only 16 and I have taken the responsibilities that some adults have not. It hurts to know that my father denies me being his daughter. When I talk about it with others, I act like it doesn’t bother me; when really I am trying so hard to hold back the tears. My mom and I talk about my father all the time.
I remember telling my mom, “It’s whatever that my dad isn’t around, it doesn’t bother me that much anymore.”
“Well that’s good, but I know you are probably hurting inside,” said my mom.
“No, I just don’t really care anymore. All men are stupid.”
“Yes, yes they are. Why do you think I don’t date anymore?”
When I talk about it, I hold everything in. When I’m by myself and take time to write about it, I realize how fake he was with me. There isn’t anything much to do except be strong. He doesn’t deserve to have me in his life anyways, he lied to my face. I don’t need him or his money to live the life I want and be happy. I need to be strong for my mom and my brother, they are the only ones I have left; and I know they aren’t going anywhere.