Looking On the Bright Side | Teen Ink

Looking On the Bright Side

May 9, 2011
By Desiree Romero, Tucson, Arizona
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Desiree Romero, Tucson, Arizona
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My name is Desiree and I am 17 years old. I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. I think I have a pretty good head on my shoulders and I give all the credit for that to my mom. My mom is defiantly the number one person in my life because she’s always there when I need her, even if we have our disagreements. I have a confusing but amazing Family which included my 3 brothers, my mom, and her boyfriend. My dad is still in my life but he live in Phoenix so I don’t see him as much. I also have a step dad, Derick, but we don’t live with him anymore because he and my mom had broken up. People come and go out of my life but let me tell you, I’ve learned something from each and every one of them.

I’ll start off with the most important person in my life, my mom. From day one my mom loved me with all her heart. I am the only girl and I was the only planned child, lucky me huh? When I was born and had to stay in the hospital because I had jaundice, my mom was there by my side til she had to leave. When I was in the hospital a few extra days she was at home waiting for the time to pass til she can have me in her arms again. I am thankful for my mom because she did an amazing job raising my brother and I without my dads help. My mom goes above and beyond just to make me happy. If I need anything I know I can go to her. She helped me when I was sick, when I was heart broken, and she was always there for me when I needed support for a sport, awards or anything. I’ve given my mom hell my teenage years but she always seems to forgive me. For the passed year now I have been trying to make up my mistakes for her. I used to lie a lot and not care what she had to say but now that I’ve grown up I realized not to lie to my mom and to not take advantage of the freedom she gives me. I think my mom and I are on the same page now and have became closer over the passed few years. I know I can tell her anything, even if she will get upset, she will get over it because that’s what moms too. She doesn’t hold grudges but she does remember everything you’ve done wrong to her.
My mom has helped me through everything and any chance I get I try to help her also. If I could choose a hero in my life right now, it would defiantly be her. She has shown me to be strong and to stand for what you believe in. I love my mom with all my heart, she has made the biggest impact in my life and I appreciate her more than anything.

When my dad was in prison my mom met an amazing guy Derick, my step dad. They were together for quite some time and one day he had told her
“You have blessed me once for having my son, will you bless me again by being my wife.”
My mom quickly replied “yes.”
They got married in 2001 and to me it was the best day of my life because he was the main male model in my life and I wanted my mom to stay with him forever. He was a corrections officer so he knew what discipline meant. Every time we would leave the house Derick would say
“Behave and don’t touch or ask for anything.”
My brothers and I would quickly reply “okay or we won’t.” But we were kids what do you expect?
When we were in the stores my brothers and I were good at first but once we got bored we were little devil children. We would run around playing tag or touching everything we lay our eyes on without thinking about the consequences.
“Mom, Derick can I have this please, I won’t ask for anything else.”
“No, what did we tell you; don’t ask for anything or you’re going to get in trouble.”
(10 minutes later) “I’m hungry, can I get something to eat”
“Wow, how many times do I have to tell you, you’re getting it when we get home.”
My brothers and I would switch off asking for things so that hopefully they would say yes; sadly it got us into a lot of trouble. When we got home we knew we were all in trouble, we would line up in the parents room and get a spanking. After every place we went this was the routine, as we grew up we learned not to ask for things when we were told not to.
Even though we got in trouble a lot with Derick we knew he was only doing it to teach us discipline and so that he isn’t known as the guy with the “evil” step kids. Not every time with Derick was about being in trouble, we also have has some good times together.
During the summer we would always go to Disneyland, the beach or somewhere fun. Derick knew how to make us happy and support us. We grew as a family and got closer and closer every day. There was a point in time when my mom would work night shifts and Derick would stay home with us and make us dinner and tuck us into bed. He was more than any step daughter could ask for.
Sadly, the time together ended short when my mom and Derick had separated. I really wish I could have spent more time with him. Even though we still don’t live with him he is always there for my older brother and me and of course my little brother. I enjoy when my birthday comes around because I know I will always have a birthday card signed by him. I am his “Pumpkin pie hair cutted freak” (it’s a long story, but to make it short it’s a name he made when I had a messed up haircut one time). The thing I’ll never forget is all the times he has told me I looked beautiful and that he loves me. The last time he told me that was prom night, he said
“You’re beautiful, who would have known you would look like this now, I love you Pumpkin and I hope you have a good time.”
I replied “thank you, I love you too” as I walked away smiling.

“Wake up, we’re here” my nana says to my brother and I.
Seeing my dad wasn’t easy, we had to drive all the way to Florence to see my dad in prison. My dad was sentenced for 6 years for 2nd degree burglary. Even though he didn’t see my brother and me as much as we all wished, he always tried to be there. He would send us notes, pictures, or anything he could just to let us know he was thinking about us. When we would visit him we would go in a room full of tables and talk to each other and play card games, on occasion we would go outside and have private talks with my dad. It’s not a good memory I’d like to have with my dad but at least I can say I have memories with him right? When my dad’s sentence was up he became more of a dad to my brother and me.
We would see my dad every other weekend or sometimes during the week because he lived in the south side of Tucson which was way closer than Florence. My dad was making up for his mistakes and trying to do everything he could to but little did we know it, he was back on the same road as before. He moved with this girl named Devon who got him into some trouble. She lived on Dodge in a trailer park full of weirdo’s. We would go over there every other weekend if we had to. Everybody would go over and sit in the “living room” and drink and smoke cancer sticks. One day, I clearly remember a conversation with my dad that I wish I didn’t remember.
“Can you go in my truck and get the black pouch on the side of the door for me please?”
Innocent me answered “yeah dad,” As I ran out of the house to get what he asked for.
I was curious to see what was in the pouch so I opened it and saw a needle and eye drops. I was about 9 at the time so I didn’t realize what it was. As I grew older my mom had informed me that my dad had heroin. A light bulb clicked in my mind and I realized that he made his innocent daughter go get his needle to go shoot up. I’m sure there were more incidents like this but I can’t remember anything specific besides that one incident.
As the days, weeks and even months went on I think my dad started to realize what he was doing was wrong. He went to rehab and moved to Phoenix with his mom. My dad has been clean for a few years now and I enjoy going to see him. He has changed A LOT in my eyes. When my brother and I go over we watch movies, go to the mall, play basketball, or play glow in the dark baseball at night. I love going to see my dad now because we are always doing stuff we enjoy instead of being locked in a house full of smoke or drugs around us. The hardest part has always been saying bye to my dad. Every time I leave his house he kisses me on the head, gives me a big hug and tells me he loves me. I cherish that moment until the next time I see him again.
Tata, Uncle and Nana
“Tata is home, run and go hid” my nana would warn my brother and me every time my Tata was coming home.
Our hiding spot was always in his closet because he went straight there to get clean clothes and shower. Every time he came home he would act surprised that we were in there ready to scare him. The best part was he would be “scared” every single time.
We would eat dinner after my Tata showered and then we would just relax. My brother and I loved getting bribed to do things for money so during this time my Tata and uncle would use us to their advantage.
My Tata would tell us, for every grey hair you pull out of my head you will get a penny.”
To my brother and I that was a lot when we were younger so we quickly said “okay” and laughed.
We would sit on the couch for an hour or so watching TV and grabbing grey hair as my Tata screamed ouch!! After our hands were full of little grey hair he would announce that it’s time for bed.
Next, my uncle would call us over and bribe us too. His deal was that if we give him a back massage for 20 minutes we would get $5. My brother and I would take turns and watch the clock as the time passed so we would get our money. By the end of the night we would be tired out and just fall asleep after we got our days worth of pay.
The next morning my nana would make us breakfast, which was always potatoes, chorizo, menudo, and/or pancakes. My nana always knew how to make our little stomachs happy. At this time my dad was still in prison so we would either go visit him or just go do something fun since they lived in Phoenix and there is everything to do there.
A little after my dad got out of prison my Tata and nana had separated. This was a sad part of my brothers and I life. We weren’t able to see both of them at once anymore; we only saw our nana and uncle because my tat had moved to Nogales. My nana was so upset that she told us lies,
“He has a new wife and is going to have a kid”
“His girlfriend is in her 20’s” and on and on.

This led us to resent our Tata and we didn’t bother to contact him or see him. After a few years it finally came out that everything my nana said was a lie. We saw our Tata every once in awhile, but it’s not like it used to be, but they always say what’s meant to be will find its way, if not, it never was.

Being the only girl and growing up with 3 brothers’ defiantly made an impact on my life. I was a tom boy when I was younger because of my brothers. We grew up hanging out with all the same friends and we played sports everyday till we hit junior high. I’m sure they didn’t enjoy my presence 24/7 but I was the girl and all I had to do was tell my mom that they weren’t letting me hang out with them.
My older brother’s name is Anthony and he’s 19 years old. Me and him are the closest, mainly because we have the same dad. If I was down or needed somebody to shoot hoops with or basically anything, he was the brother to go to. I remember always riding bikes, playing video games, swimming, going out to eat, and playing football and basketball with my brother. Our favorite game we played together was the blame game. When he did something wrong I would be the first one to go tell on him and vies versa. As we grew up we realized not to tell on each other and I got my own friends and he moved on to high school and work. Now, we aren’t as close but we still see each other at least 3 times a week. He was blessed with a baby boy (Talon) last year. He is the light of mine and all my families’ eyes now.
My second oldest brother’s name is Demetrius and he is 17 years old, we are a month apart. I met him when I was 2, of course I don’t remember but if I did I guarantee I had a smile on my face when I met him. Since me and him were so close in age we were also very close. Growing up my house was his second house because his mom had custody of him till he got to 6th grade. We brought him under our wings from 6th grade till now. I’m glad my step dad went to court and got custody of him. First, because he would have to struggle if he lived with him mom and he would be led down a bad path and second because I would have missed out on getting close to an amazing brother. I think the day we got closer was the day we were running through the house and collided heads hard!! Years passed and our parents split up but he knows I’m always here if he needs me.
My youngest brother’s name is Treveon and he is 12 years old. The day he was born was the best day of my life. When he was born I was in that stage where I loved babies so I was always helping my mom out while my little brother was growing up. He wasn’t in very good health when he was born and he almost died on us 2 or 3 times now. Even though he wasn’t in perfect health he was defiantly the funniest kid I’ve ever met. He would run around the house with a mask on his head, he would read on the toilet and he would do his dirt dipper business in the corners of the house. He was my little sidekick growing up; we would sit in by the computer desk every night and read books. Now that he is on his first year of junior high he asks like he is too good for anybody and ignores almost everybody he talks to. I really wish I could go back in time sometimes just to reminisce the times we shared together since we barely talk anymore. On that note, I love my brothers dearly.

In 8th grade I met an amazing person named Stephanie C. We had 3 classes together so of course we ended up talking a lot. This amazing person is my best friend forever hands down. I don’t usually let people into my life easy but I knew she was different and wouldn’t stab my back. We got closer and closer everyday, it was a daily routine to hand out with her at school and after school. We stayed after school managing volleyball and if we weren’t doing that we were doing something together. People would see us and ask if we were related because we were always together. I have many memories with this girl but the most memorable memory I have is when we got lost somewhere by the human society so we just explored everything over there. We went inside the human society and saw all the animals, we walked down the wash, and we skipped rocks across a pond. Another memorable thing I can remember is when we watch Borat for the first time. We would repeat everything in that movie. “Hello, my name a Borat,” “You will never get this,” And on and on. The fun ended when she had to move all the way on Valencia, which was about 30 minutes from my house. We occasionally see each other but we aren’t as close as we used to be. Another reason why it is different is because she is 5 months pregnant. I hope her mom chooses to move closer to her old house so that we can fix our friendship and become close as we used to be. if they don’t move back Stephanie still knows ill always be there for her, and I know the same goes for her.

Who is this guy? Why is he here? When my mom introduced this tall guy to me as her “friend” I knew she was lying when he was always over. When I was in 5th grade my mom had moved out from Derick’s and moved on her own with my 2 brothers and I. sooner than later Tony moved in with us also. At first I resented him very much. I didn’t want another guy to replace my amazing step dad.
As the days went on I knew he was there to stay. Everyday he would try to talk to me to get closer to my brother and I but I wasn’t having it. I ignored him. I threw things back at him when he handed me something. I did anything for my mom to realize that she’s making the wrong choice by leaving Derick, but my mom didn’t care and was getting fed up with me not excepting him.
“if you don’t accept him and start being nice to him I’m going to take you to a foster house.”
Yes, my mom did tell me this and ill never forget that day. I cried and cried and cried. I went to school that day and I remember having a voicemail from my mom saying
“If you haven’t decided to change I’ve found other parents for you to live with.”
At that point I realized I needed to just accept him, he wasn’t even that bad, I was just upset that she wasn’t with my step dad anymore. From that day on I realized to just cope with my mom and her choices of guys.
As the years passed I realized he wasn’t even a bad guy. He helped us out with EVERYTHING; I mean everything you can imagine. When I needed something he gave me it, a job, a truck, a house to feel at home in, anything you can imagine he gave me it with no questions asked. I am very thankful he has come into my life and taught me to give people chances even if I don’t want to. I’m glad my mom met him and she is happy with him.

We all complain that our life is terrible, that our life sucks but if you think about it, there are plenty of people out there who have it worse than you. All these people have made an impact in my life and have made me who I am today. I wish I could tell each and every one of the people in my life that I am very thankful for them and if they have made mistakes that I have looked passed them. I know I am young and I have a lot to look forward but with these people in my life I know ill make it far, especially with my mom by my side, ill be able to make it through anything. Life is about accepting people into your life no matter what. If they bring you pain or happiness, they came into your life for a reason and people are sent to either learn from or to keep in your life forever. On the bright side, I have an amazing family and friends who I know will always be there for me.

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