As I look back at my earlier years, I realize how much we depend from our parents and we don’t even appreciate them until they are gone. Growing up I had always been distant. I would do my own thing and my parents theirs. They would give my siblings and I our daily chores and they would get completed at a timely manner, sometimes not to their liking. Our chores would go from sweeping the floors to mopping. My dad would always make me throw away the trash. Sometimes my sisters and I would take turns washing dishes. It didn’t matter, I didn’t really argue back, I just wanted to get it done and just have my space and be left alone. We lived in a two-bedroom house, which meant I had to share a room with two of my younger sisters. I never really had my own space and privacy. The only time I had to myself was when I was over my friends house, which my parents liked to complain since my friends and I spend most of our free time in the streets playing soccer or just goofing around. Whenever they didn’t like me going outside, I would stay in the living room playing my PlayStation 2 or watching television. My dad would say to me, “ You’re always inside, go make friends or clean the house, stop being a lazy ass.” I would roll my eyes at him without him noticing because if I were to be outside he would also complain. “Oh pues, what do you want me to do? If I’m outside, you get mad and if I’m inside you get mad, I don’t know what you want me to do!” Id responded while walking towards my room. Both of my parents would just ignore my outburst laughing. Instead of arguing back I would just stay in my room like a dog on a leash.
My parents seemed distant from us most of the time, they both worked full time jobs to be able to provide for us. When they did have free time, they would spend it with childhood friends from their old town. Something I never enjoyed. My parents would drive us to LA and we would spend time with people we didn’t know. I really hated going out with them, I was taken out of my comfort zone and was force to meet other people’s kids. At the time, the drive to Los Angeles seem to last an eternity. We were just fish in the sea swimming on and on with no destination in sight. The only thing in my head was trying to get back home and be with my friends. Still, my parents had me going with them everywhere. The only one that missed out on all the fun was my older sister. Since she was nearing adulthood, she never had to go with us unwillingly. I am the second oldest of 3 sisters: Ingrid, Heidy, and Melannie. Furthermore, we grew up close and were always there for each other. Since Ingrid was the oldest, most of the responsibilities fell on her. However, that would all change as she moved out with her boyfriend, Omar and became independent of my parents.
For a while my dad started to teach me how to drive a standard car, also know as a stick. He didn’t have much patience in teaching me, so my older sister took it upon herself to show me how to drive at 14. I didn’t really learn after 16 or so. After learning how to drive it became a constant habit of taking my mom out to get groceries or to take care places. Also, my dad would make me take her to work whenever he didn’t feel like taking her. While hanging out with friends, my dad would call me and ask that I take my mom to work or the store. I would always tell her that she needed to hurry up and get in the car, as if hanging out with my friends was more important. “Mom, hurry up, walk faster! Don’t tell me to take you if you’re not ready.” I would sometimes yell at her. She would then rush to the car and say sorry to me. I felt shitty afterwards. I remember always asking my parents why they couldn’t ask my older sister. Even after I got my own car, they kept on asking for favors, when all I really wanted was to be left alone. I think back now and see how ungrateful I was of my parents. My perception of them changed once they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.
It all began when my older sister had her first baby daughter, Ximena. Her husband wanted to move closer to his parents and wanted to raise my niece in a more slow paste environment. Everyone was sad, especially my parents since their daughter and granddaughter were going far away. A year after they moved, my older sister began to convince my parents that they should consider moving over there. During the year that followed my dad would always tell me that he wanted us to move us over there. I told him and urged them that they should go and that I wanted to stay behind. This caused my parents to be upset with me for a while. My mom couldn’t bare the idea of leaving me behind. I told them that I was already old enough to take care of myself. I began to look for places to live at. I had been working a full time job and managed to save up money for a deposit. Eventually I found one and told me parent about it. I could see it in my mom’s eyes that she wasn’t that happy with me finding a place. The last week living together we spent cleaning out the apartment we were staying at. My dad turned in his keys and we headed to my new place. It was very small and since there wasn’t any furniture yet, we all slept on the floor. I remember when it was time to say goodbye. I never imagined separating from my parents was going to affect me the way I did. I felt so emotional that I began to cry, hugging my dad and not wanting to let go. That was the first time I saw my dad show any real emotion towards me. He began to cry as I was crying. To my surprise my mom was keeping her cool. We finally stopped crying and they got into their car and drove away. I felt empty that day and so alone.
Over the course of my time leaving alone, I grew up a lot. Being independent has definitely made my parents proud. Every year I have made it a habit to have a road trip for the fourth of July. Family time has become something to look forward to. Leaving alone has also made me realize how hard both my parents worked to make a living. Now every time they come over and visit, they stay with me. I always ask where they want to go and that Id drive them wherever. Even now, my dad and I have a beer or two and have a conversation that lasts hours. We get together and watch movies or play board games. I have learned to talk to my parents and really just appreciate family time a lot more than I did back then. Yes, I still have friends to whom I always bring over whenever my parents around and we go out as a big family. So thank you, to my parents who have taught me so much and helped me become the adult I am now.