She was the adult in the household. She was the one that her brothers and sisters ran to when they needed something. She was sixteen and had the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her mother never knew responsibility. She had her first child at fifteen and she never grew up. She was the first child and she was forced to grow up.
Her mother had a shopping addiction. She bought anything that was on sale.
Buy One, Get One 50% Off!
Cereal 3 for $5.00
Coke Products 10 for $10.00
Shampoo 2 for $4.00
Buy One, Get One Free!
It was things that they didn’t need—things that they didn’t use. But her mother couldn’t help it. As she saw it, she was saving them money. But her daughter knew better—the endless amount of shut off notices flooded their mail. Sixteen-years-old and she stressed about bills. She wondered if her brothers and sisters will have food to eat—she wondered if they will have a place to sleep.
She envied her peers. They only things they had to worry about were the latest trends, who liked who, and partying. She wished she could act her age—no stress, no worries. But sadly she was the adult in the family. Her mother ran to her when things went wrong.
“We’re short on the bills this month.”
“We’ve got another shut off notice.”
“We’re short on food.”
“We’re getting evicted!”
“We have no place to live!”
Her response would always be the same.
“Don’t worry, Mom, we’ll figure something out.”
And they always did. While her mother relaxed and acted carefree, she sat worried and thinking of a plan B. She was sixteen and had the weight of the world on her shoulders.
They argued about money a lot. Five kids living off of child support and disability. They were barely getting by. She begged her mother to stop with her shopping addiction.
“You’re the child! I’m the adult!”
She visualized herself leaving—living somewhere where she could be a kid. But she could never leave her brothers and sisters. And she loved her mother. It’s just that her mother never grew up and she was forced to. She was her mother’s keeper.