Dear Mom and Dad,
The garage is humming as it starts to open, letting the rays of sunshine inside. The dogs are whining as I shut the door behind me, they hate when I leave. I am on my way to pick up my sister from basketball practice. The screen on my phone lights up my face as I check the time, it’s 5:45. I always leave the house 15 minutes early, even though the drive only takes me 7 minutes to get to school, just so I won’t be late. I can’t be late. Being late makes my heart race and my head spin with stress. When I’m late it starts to build up a knot in my stomach. It’s the anticipation of everyone’s burning stares as I walk into school late, that kills me. I can feel their stares boring into the back of my head as I walk in, my body stiff and tense, hardly breathing, hoping not to get any attention. My hands slowly shake and I hurry to do whatever I have to so I can breathe normally again. That’s what being late does to me.
When I walk outside the sun is at a blinding eye level. The air feels heavy. I can’t wait to get inside my car and turn the AC on blast. The metal of my key feels cool in my grasp. The car is dusty. I hear the clicks of the locks as I unlock my car. I bought this 2005 Jeep Liberty myself. It has an almost faded, but still shiny, black color with a few scratches from years of use. The tires are worn from the thousands of miles it has transported people. Inside, my Hawaiian air freshener is battling the smell of old car and cigarette smoke from the previous owner. The car vibrates with the engine on. Pulling out of the driveway, I start to feel a sense of power. It is freedom, adulthood, and money management skills. This car represents a new chapter in my life: responsibility.
As I drive I think, why did I earn your trust, why did it become my job to pick my sister, drive her around, and get myself to the places I needed to be? It felt like I had suddenly woken up one day and had this new item bearing on my shoulders. Responsibility had become a heavy wool cloak that I wore wrapped around me. Somedays the cloak of responsibility was a light as a feather; other days it felt like a blanket of rocks. Sure, I was always the child to follow the rules. I was punctual and always got my homework done. How did you decide that it was time I shared some adult-like responsibilities? Did it come when I signed my name on my driver license or when I entered my junior year? Was it when I started earning my own money?
It could be that there is an aura that follows me around. I radiate a sense of comfort and trustworthiness. You can see my truth in my eyes, they cannot lie. It trails behind me when I walk in the halls. I smile at people that pass by, hoping to make their day a little brighter. People see me and they know that they can trust me. I may be small and sometimes shy, but there is a big heart hidden beneath all of that. I guess that is what my parents see in me.
I pull into the school parking lot and glide right into a spot. I cut the engine and walk into the gym. It’s 5:52. I see my sister running down the court holding her hand up in anticipation of receiving the basketball. Practice comes to a close and she slips off her tennis shoes and puts on her sandals. Chugging her water bottle, sweat dripping down her face. Walking outside, we head home together. Right now, getting her home safely is the most important thing. It’s more important than school, homework, friends, and what we are having for dinner. This responsibility is what I was molded for.
My sister and I maintain small talk while I keep my focus on the road. At this moment I am being safe and responsible. The house comes into view and the goal line is in sight. Pulling back into the driveway, I know that for now I have accomplished my goal. I begin to reflect on what got me here. Throughout my childhood, you were molding me to be a responsible, smart, fully functional part of society. All the times you reminded me to be organized with my school work and to reach for the stars was all to make me the person I have become today. Thank you. Being responsible has made me punctual and trustworthy. Thank you Mom and Dad for raising me the way you did; I am glad to carry around this weight of responsibility.