She’s four years old. An age of complete innocence and obliviousness to the horrors that surround this Earth. An age of happiness and hope. An age where the only concern that should be on her mind is focusing on not using too much pressure on the crayon to snap it, but just enough to create a beautiful work of art, worthy to hang on the refrigerator. This is how four-years-old should look like. But not for her.
For her, she has had to live four years without a father, and would never meet him in the years to follow. At four years old, she watched as her mother’s body collapsed in the front yard from the excessive alcohol intake, spraining her ankle. At four years old she dragged her mom to the front steps, got her water, and went to find help. This is what four years old looked like for her.
“It’s really difficult. I remember in elementary school a guy used to make all these single-mom jokes and they were really inappropriate. I would always defend her and I would like go home and she had a drinking problem for a while. Luckily she’s not with that anymore. She stopped drinking my junior year. I would defend her all the time and be an advocate for her. I’ve always been an adult and always around adult things. I would get home sometimes and she would be really drunk and not doing good. So I would believe these things that I would say at school when I was defending her, but then I’d get home and wonder why she couldn’t be how I said she was.”
Now, many years later, some things have changed. Her mother quit drinking, and is her biggest role model and supporter. She’s seen her struggle as a single mom, taking college courses online, overcome abuse from many men in her life, and overcoming these challenges with a positive outlook. She is filled with so much pride for her mom and wouldn’t be able to survive without her.
But some things haven’t changed. She’s has still never met her biological father, and never plans to. In the meantime, lots of men have come and gone from her life in relationships with her mother, and most have not been positive. So, her grandfather served as her father figure, who loved her dearly. They shared a special bond that will never be forgotten.
“I’ve had a lot of people leave in my life. It’s always just been my mom and me. My mom is my constant. When my life changes drastically, it’s like all my constants are gone. Like moving this year jacked me up. Everything that was a constant for a while just got taken away. I’ve moved seven times in my life. Every time I get used to something, it’s taken away. I’ve gone through a lot of friends, and I’m extremely lucky for the ones I’ve found now.”