Dear 3-year-old self,
I know right now you’re very confused and scared. You have no idea what the next years of your life are going to be like. What happened that night was your mom had too much to drink and started throwing plates around the house and threatening to kill your dad. A neighbor overheard and called the police. You don’t remember much beyond crawling outside to the driveway and watching the police force your mom into their patrol car. You weren’t even aware of your mom’s state of mind because you were so young. All you said was, “Where are they taking my mommy?”
A couple of months later you saw your mom again. This time it was in a room where she sat on the other side of the glass. She told you, “Mommy will be home soon, don’t worry, baby.”
When she came back similar events took place. Some nights it was so bad you went with your dad and sister to sleep in a hotel. You were so confused about why you had to stay at hotels and friends’ and families’ houses so often. You didn’t know why you had to go to the social worker offices where they had to check to make sure you were living in a safe home. You didn’t know why you were almost put into a foster home. You didn’t know why you woke up in a stranger’s home watching your mom insert needles into her body.
Don’t worry, because you will grow up to live a happy life. When you’re around 10, your mom will move to Texas to stay with your grandma, so you don’t have to continue living through her disruptive life. There will be days you will feel sad, angry and alone, but you will get through it.
Yes, you grew up without a mom on Mother’s Day and your graduation, your first time of the month, and when boys break your heart. Those challenges only make you stronger. God gave you this life because you’re strong enough to live it. Whenever you see other kids with their moms, don’t feel sad because you do not need her.
You will learn to accept the fact that she isn’t coming back, but you will still love her. Even when you don’t want to see her, read her letters or answer her calls, remember, she gave you life, and without her you wouldn’t be alive. You are the oldest, and you need to help your sister get through this and be there for her. You have to help your dad out because he is raising you guys alone. Just remember to keep your head up and stay strong.
Love, your 16-year-old self
By Jennifer Birstein
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