I lived with my grandma and grandpa when I first started school. They took really good care of me. I remember my grandma used to put my hair in these really big plastic hair rollers. I hated wearing those rollers because they hurt my head. She was, and still is, the best grandma ever. We call her Mamaw. At that time, I had two younger brothers. I’m not exactly sure why I was the only one who lived with my grandparents, but I was very happy with them. My grandpa always made me feel very special. I remember one time he had bought me this little battery-operated four wheeler. I would be riding it around and he would say ” Come on let’s put that thing up. Your brothers are about to be here and you don’t want them to tear it up”. After he got sick he would lay on the couch on his side and let me brush his hair and put little barrettes in it.
When I was five years old I found out that I had an older half sister (Melissa) from my dad’s previous marriage, and I got to meet her. The day we met we had so much fun playing together. I wanted that day to last forever. That day was the last day I would see her until I was 14.
When my oldest brother started school my parents made me move back home. I was in the third grade at this time. Living with my parents was not easy. My dad was a truck driver and my mom a stay at home mother. They both were drug addicts. On the weekends my dad was a bouncer at a local beer joint (bar) called The Purple Chicken. When I was 10 my baby sister was born. I was so excited when my mom found out she was having a baby girl. I could not wait for her to get here! At first, I loved holding her and getting to take care of her because she was so little and sweet. Then, when she was about 6 months old my mom started letting me take care of her a lot more. On the weekends when my parents would go to the Purple Chicken they would leave us kids at home. I was responsible for taking care of my baby sister (who was less than a year old) and my two younger brothers.
As I mentioned before, my dad was a truck driver. He would be gone on the road through the week, and was home on the weekends. He eventually was introduced to Crystal Meth. He started using it so that he could stay up & and make better distance on the road. Eventually, my mom found out and she started using also. I can remember getting up in middle of night to go to the bathroom and she would be cleaning the house. She would stay up for days at a time and then sleep for days at a time. My parents had always smoked marijuana so I was used to being around that. I remember as a kid would promise myself that I would never use drugs when I grew up. When I was 11 my grandpa died from lung cancer. It was so hard on me, as it was for everyone in my family because he was our rock. He was the one person that I knew I could call and he would always be there. Not long after my Grandpa died our home burnt to the ground. We lost everything we had. We were already in a position where we didn’t have much and my parents struggled financially. We eventually moved in a trailer right behind my grandmother’s house. She would take me to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I had finally found a place where I felt like I belonged. We had a pretty big youth group at church, and we got to do a lot of fun things. I went to church camp every summer, I was on the drama team, and I was also in the choir. When I was 12 years old I was filled with the Holy Ghost. It was the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my life. I can’t explain it, but it felt like pure love. I can remember being at the altar with my hands raised standing in the raw presence of God.
To be continued…