By Nisa Salazar
Photo via Flickr
I often lay on my bed with my six-year-old sister. Since the moment she was born, I have been more like a mother to her than a sister. She continuously bombards me with questions regarding our mom. “I want mom. When is mom going to be here Nisa?” Questions I never know how to answer.
“Mom will be home soon,” I reply, but it pains me to see her cry. I feel the same way, but instead of grieving I keep the pain inside. I have become numb to that pain. Her pain was just starting.
My mom played both parental roles for my two sisters and me. There were times she was motherly, like when we would shop for make-up together. There were other times, like when I disobeyed her, when she would take on the fatherly role. I saw the hurt in my mom’s eyes in those moments.
My parents divorced before I was two-years-old. My sisters and I stayed with our mom and never spent weekends with my dad, at all. Our house was chaotic – I admit we’re a handful.
Divorces are so common in Merced, where almost a third of children live in homes with only one parent. I know that I am not alone. I have friends with similar stories to mine, who are in even worse situations.
By the time I was seven I felt full of rage. I was hurt and angry that my dad would give us money and act as if that was his job as a father for the month. In fact, his neglect as a parent impacted me in ways I am now, at 17, just beginning to understand.
I have big responsibilities, even more so after my dad lost his business. With our second income gone, I know I have to get a job to support my mom and sisters. Things are sometimes so hard I want to disappear. But then I think about my family and how much they need me.
Not having anyone around when I was younger made me realize that I grew up overnight. I have adult problems now and I will grow up to fix them. I am seventeen going on thirty.
Nisa is a 17-year-old high school student and Youth Reporter. She likes to write about youth, relationships, and the environment. Passionate about helping others, she also loves taking care of her sisters and animals. She hopes to pursue higher education and achieve her dream of receiving a Master’s Degree in Psychology.