A Perfect Family

May 7, 2018
By , Metairie, LA

As it grew time for bed, my eight year old self tossed and turned as I waited for the moment to fall asleep. I laid awake just listening to the sounds of my average, but elegant Kenner house. A sound that stuck out to me came from the kitchen, and was the familiar sound of the medicine cabinet being shoveled through. Even as a ignorant eight year old, something felt off. I jumped out of bed and walked out my room, which was catty-corner to my mom and sister’s bedrooms. Immediately, I looked at my sister’s door. There, I saw a letter. Every word from the letter is blurry now, but only a few phrases still stand out. “I'm sorry.” “Please forgive me.” “I love y’all so much.” From there I called my mom out of her room as I entered my sister’s. There, I walked to the other side of her bed, and found her on the ground. That was the moment that I knew my family would never be perfect, but soon had a revelation to answer the question of: “How could a family ever be perfect?” 


This never really mattered to me until second grade when that dreadful moment had struck my family. I never really understood why it happened or what it meant, but I got a bad feeling after I had knelt down begging my sister not to die. My sister was only a freshman when she tried to take her own life.


Since the beginning of time, there has always been an image of what a family should look and act like. As a young girl, I used to envy my friends from school who had “perfect families.” By perfect, I meant that their parents were married, their mothers were involved at school, their dads played catch with them every night, and their siblings were nothing but playful with them. All I knew was that my parents were divorced, my sister was punished all of the time, and my mom was always working.


I began to ponder the reason to why my sister would ever want to hurt herself or our family. I thought to myself, “maybe it is all of the times where my family had fought, or maybe when her boyfriend broke her heart, or maybe just my mom working so many late shifts.” I started to blame my imperfect family. I even started to blame her.


Around the time I hit the age of twelve, my sister’s depression and anxiety had been acting up again, and I was miserable. She would rip my mom to shreds mentally, and even sometimes physically. Her words and actions cut like knives. This period was the moment I stood up and spoke how I felt about my family. I told my mom I hated our family because we have so many problems that no other “normal family” has to deal with.


Little did I know, my sister actually had a problem that would take a long time to handle and battle. I was enlightened about the tiny chemical imbalance my sister was diagnosed with in her brain as a freshman. The imbalance puts her emotional maturity at a much younger age than she actually is. This has an effect on how she reacts to stress or social situations.


After finding that out from my mom, I finally understood the concept behind my sister and the way she acted. Soon after I found this piece of clarity, my sister and I grew closer than ever. We spoke of how in that moment of me finding her and saving her life, I became her “guardian angel.” No one has ever meant more to me than my sister does.


Now my family and I openly speak of the hard times we faced together. We realized we brought each other up and grew closer through the sheer fact that we are not perfect. Our family will never be perfect, but we would not want it any other way. Imperfectness shows you what matters, and what gifts each member of your family has to offer through the tough times. So I finally answered the question of  “how could a family ever be perfect?” I answered this question by saying a family would not be normal if they were perfect.






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