I am from a place where family is there for each other.
Where friends come and go like cars on a highway.
Where people get on and off with the highway of friendship.
But where family stays forever.
I am from family games of flag football,
where my brothers and I ran along our hilly backyard
and where we’d rush inside crying
with cuts and jammed fingers.
I am from learning from my parents mistakes and advice.
From my mom’s mistakes with money and relationships,
to my dad growing up poor and turning his bank
account from 10 dollars to a $400,000 house in the suburbs.
I am from adventure.
From sneaking off to the forest
by my house where the birds chirped
and where hundreds of crickets would stridulate.
I am from bonding experiences with my relatives.
From running over a septic pipe with a wooden board
attached by four skateboards.
(My relatives and I pushed it down the glistening pavement
on our driveway.)
I am from funny stories of wanting to be a musician to a basketball player.
From making a drum set out of a laundry basket and two pencils
(Making a band with my brothers and sister.)
to dressing up as famous basketball players
and going out into the crammed basketball area behind my house.
I am from becoming friends, with my family.
Where I consider my mom
one of, if not my best, friend.
Where kids go behind their parents’ backs,
I tell them the truth
so they can teach me the right things to do.
I am from losing the family I once had.
From my parents getting divorced to having to live with my
grandparents with only my sister for years without parents at all.
Where my brother, a “choir nerd” decided to enlist in the Marines
and left two years ago for the Middle East.
Or how my sister, who is in the Navy, was ordered to go to Japan; both thousands of miles away.
I am from a place, where I learned to appreciate what I have,
Because what seems so steady and secure today,
won’t always be there the next.
I have learned not to take things for granted.
Some of what I lost, I will miss forever,
but I appreciate things more now than I ever have before.