It was the summer after 6th grade. My parents had planned a trip to visit my grandparents up in Canada. It was a vacation- something my family wasn’t too familiar with- and as you can guess we were pretty excited. Well everyone BUT Louis. My brother was visiting for the summer and didn’t want to spend his 15th birthday with our grandparents. So as you can guess, he constantly wined and complained about it while the rest of us happily waited for the day. But don’t think he got out of coming just because he was being a brat. Mom didn’t give him a choice. He was going and that was final.
I remember the excitement the night before as I carefully prepped. Mom had just bought me some new clothes, a rarity. All I ever got was hand-me-downs. However, Mom had found some leggings – as they were new- so she got them to try them out and bought a shirt to match. I was thrilled! Wanting to look my absolute best, I decided to paint my nails- to match my outfit of course! That night I sat at the table chatting with Louis as I went about painted each nail a fabulous hot pink.
It was late- around 11 o’clock- and we were heading out at 4 in the morning. So after finishing my left hand, my dad grumpily sent us to bed. I remember the frustration and rage that coursed through my blood! I only got to paint one hand! My dad never seemed to understand me. Being half deaf, the majority of the time he literally didn’t! Of course this was a constant struggle for us, but what could we do about it?
Lying in bed I thought about the day and its happenings. Just a couple hours before, Dad told me to go help Mom move the car. I ran out as the darkness consumed what was left of the day and climb into the back seat. I sat there watching my mom as she backed the car up. And for some reason I asked her a question- a strange question for a 12 year old to ask her mom in her last moments.
I guess my mind had wondered to all the different moments I had seen my parents fighting. At the time, I doubted their love and their commitment so I asked something I had questioned for many years.
“Mom, Why DID you marry Dad?”
And she told me the story:
My mom had just escaped my biological father out in Missouri and moved back home to St. George, Utah. At the time she was dating Dennis (my soon to be step-father.) She had been fasting and praying to know who she was to marry. I imagine she was looking for a really good guy, someone she could be with forever. So one night she had a dream of this really old man, and she knew this was the guy she was to marry, but she didn’t know who he was and was confused by his old age. But one night, when Dennis come over to pick her up for a date, she opened the door to that same face she had seen in her dream. Dennis had looked just like that old man and that’s how she knew. They were married shortly after on October 26, 1996 and as they say- the rest is history.
Something you have to realize is that at that time I was less than two years old and Dennis was the only father I had known. He raised me and HE is my dad. My biological father has had nothing to do with me. He isn’t my father; I don’t even know him. So even though Dennis didn’t give me my physically body, he did create me. He helped mold me into the person I am today. He raised me, taught me and took care of me. He IS my father and always will be.
All of a sudden I’m being shaken awake. I must have fallen asleep. Dad is standing there telling me to get dressed and head to the car. It was dark and I was soo groggy. I jumped out of bed – excited and tired. I knew I would sleep in the car anyways and I’d be that much closer to a vacation. So I threw on my cute, new clothes and my comfy, soft sandals, brushed my hair and headed out the door.
It was July 13, 2007… Friday the 13th. A day I’ll never forget.
It was the beginning of the worst day of my life. The day I became an orphan. It’s funny how things can change so quickly. One minute can make the difference between life and death… between having parents and then all of a sudden not.
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