Dont Put Your Everything Into This This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 25, 2010
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“I realized I can’t give my everything to someone who only makes me their something.” Adults and other people with behavioral problems have them because of how they grew up or a bad childhood. For the most part, I thought I was one of the lucky ones because not everyone had a mother who was willing to put her children before her own self. Her and my sister proved to be the only two people who could instantly know how to mend my broken heart. For as long as I can remember, my heart’s been broken time after time again.

My parents got divorced when my mom realized that she could no longer put up with parties, drugs, and other women. I was two years old during her epiphany. In my mind, I painted a pretty picture of the false hope that I found in my father. My mom, big sister, and even older brother tried to warn me of my optimism. Although I knew he was a “promise breaker”, I attempted to find the light in my dad, believing it would eventually shine through.

I’ll never forget how excited I was to get a letter from him prior to my birthday. I wanted to see if that jail bird would actually remember it, at least once. I had fun at the party with a majority of my mom’s family there, a sugary Rich’s Cake, presents with stylish clothes and Bratz dolls inside. I was blessed to have each gift I had asked for, but I felt like something was missing. I got that something a few days later in the mail; it was a letter addressed to me from Ralph R. Once again, it made my day. It had writing that meant he remembered my birthday, except for the fact that he’d estimated I was a year older than actuality.

Another arrest, AKA: more letters from my father. I was secretly relieved when he got put into jail again because I knew it meant more contact between us. He even sent me a cloth with a picture of a man hugging his little daughter. I later learned that his cellmate purposely made it for my dad to give to me. It even had Spanish writing across the top that meant I will always love you, or something similar. Inside of the letter its self was a message implying that when he got out, things were going to be different! He planned to call more, find a job, and buy a car to come see us every day. I believed every word, even after he was released without a difference.

Another time, I explained to him in a letter that I was researching Puerto Rico and I wanted to go there some day. He told me that after his plan of changing when getting out of jail, he was going to save up the money to take all three of us kids to the Caribbean island. It was implied that I would get to meet part of my family-the ones who hadn’t yet come to America. As a little girl, that meant so much to me. All my life, I wanted to learn more, see more, and enjoy more of my half Puerto Rican culture. Reading it in that letter translated into a real opportunity. Once again, I allowed myself to sky-rocket my hopes straight into nothing more than my imagination.

One summer day, while my wiser sister was home alone with me, the phone rang in the corner of my bedroom. It was a number that seemed vaguely familiar, so I let Amy answer the phone. Based on the slightly fake small talk in the conversation, I figured out she was talking to our dad. Let me talk to him, let me talk to him! I thought to myself as I impatiently waited for my turn. Finally, she handed me the phone and left the room. As I sat in that corner between the wall and my bed, my excitement came to a screeching halt.

“Nice to know you’re still alive,” he sarcastically announced.

Confused, I asked, “What’s do you mean by that?”

“Well you guys never even call me anymore,” while he implied that it was our job to check up on him, I instantly discharged tear bombs from eyes without control. Of course, I didn’t want him to be aware of this explosion, so I quickly created a fake voice and a lame excuse to get off the phone.

Looking at me in shock, Amy asked, “What happened?!” I attempted to explain my unpeaceful facial expression, although I’m sure it was hard to understand over the ridiculous sobbing. Red and enraged with a flush of anger, she picked up the phone and dialed the most recent number.

“Do you know your daughter is over here balling her eyes out because of whatever you told her?!” My father guiltily revealed why this circle of heartbreak went unbroken for over the past decade. He told us that he was fully aware of the fact that he can’t see us because of the partying, drugs, alcohol, and unemployment. He felt depressed because of his own fault. Since it was so difficult for him to deal with this blame, he returned to the partying, drugs, and alcohol to drown his self-created sorrows. These evil resolutions were ironically part of the problem, the problem that I realized could never be fixed.

Up until that explanation, I never even came close to imagining how anyone could possibly go days, months, or a year without doing so much as talking to their own three kids, let own seeing them. I knew he loved us, which created light at the end of the tunnel when I used to think about it all. I would pray that my dad would realize how much he loved us, and magically snap out of that confusing life. After that clarification of reality, though, I understood that I was powerless in the effort to change him-we all were. If the world came to a screeching halt, this man would still stay the same. No wonder why God hardly answered those hopeless prayers of mine.

Now that I’m six months away from being eighteen, I see that opportunities come from change-not chance. Clearly, my dad isn’t going to magically wake up one morning and drive over to my house. Instead, I’m the one who picks up the phone to tell him about my life. I open up to him more often, and tell him how it really is. As a matter of fact, we even had a whole conversation in Spanish the other day-something I’ve always wanted to do. Many people disagree with this behavior, seeing as how it isn’t “my job”. Those people fail to understand that if I want something bad enough, I am the one who has to change me.

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