by Tyrique Lee
Family is a group of people consisting of parents and children living together in a household. To me, family also means people who are related to you, or people who are very close to you, that love and care about you, regardless of the situation. Family is important because everyone needs a group of specific people in their corner; people that will support them and give them positive advice. In this short story I am going to talk about what family is and why my family is so important to me.
Growing up in Roxbury, MA I was surrounded by a lot of negativity. I was surrounded by drug users and distributors and saw gang activity almost every day. I witnessed people flashing guns and giving daps, which symbolizes distributing drugs, on a daily basis. All the negativity, it kind of rubbed off on me and I started doing things I witnessed everyday: swearing, stealing, and fighting. By the time I was in middle school, I was getting suspended from school every other week. I was constantly getting in trouble and people described me as a ‘you are never going to be anything’ kid. I was negative all the time. But when I was in high school my family went through a difficult time. It was then that I really sat and started to think, “Is this really how I want to live my life? Do I want to continue creating a bad image, not only for myself, but for my family?”
My mom is a forty-eight year old single-parent of three kids, now twenty-four year-old Carole, sixteen year-old Tyffani, and myself, Ty. I’m 19 years old. Growing up, times could be very hard. When I was in high school, my mom changed her job to work for the MBTA. She had to do lots of training and would be gone for what seemed like long periods of time. With my mom in training, there was also not that much money being brought into the house. I did what I could do to help provide for the family, but it was just not enough. Eventually, the electricity was shut off.
I remember coming home from school and trying to turn on my tv. It wasn’t working, so I went downstairs to my mom’s room, but her tv wasn’t working either. Then I received a text from my mom: “I did not pay the cable bill.” With the electricity and everything being shut off, there was not that much to do besides sleep. We couldn’t use our electronics because they would have died out quickly, and we wouldn’t have been able to charge them. The house was just so dark, so dark that someone passing by would question whether or not someone lived there. Being inside a house with no lights is scary. It felt like I was in a haunted house on Halloween night. Walking around, I was unable to see anything because it was pitch black, and I had to touch and feel things, like the wall, to know where I was going.
Also, because the electricity was off my mother could not go grocery shopping because anything she bought would eventually spoil, so we relied on fast food. McDonald’s was right down the street from our house, so we relied on that to fill our stomachs. Some nights we went to sleep a little hungry. I can almost remember every sound my stomach was making one dark night as I was laying down, uncomfortable in my bed. I remember thinking about what a terrible situation we were in. I thought about going to my dad’s, but then I thought about how hard my mom was working to make things better for us, her kids, and I decided I wanted to be better too.
I could have easily left my mom and sister and gone to my dad’s house. But the reason I did not leave my family is because I created a motto: “Struggle as a family and shine as a family.” What I mean by this motto is that things are not always going to go as planned. Things are going to get tough. It is these times that show what family members are really loyal to you. What kind of son would I have been if I had left my mom after all the good things she had done for my sisters and I? Well, I would have been not only a bad son, but a bad human being. I would have been leaving someone who had sacrificed so much in her life to make sure my sisters and I have access to things such as food, water, clothes, and shelter. My family motivated me to be a son and a better man, and to also live a better life. And with that I went from being suspended every other week from school to graduating high school and attending a college.
All in all, I have learned throughout my life that family should always love family no matter what. If it was not for my family, I do not think I would be in the same position that I am in today. And for that I thank my family, who supports and loves me at every opportunity, because without each other none of us would be who we are today, successful and healthy.