When my sister and I were very, very young, my mom was being brutally abused by our father, her husband. For a long time while growing up, she wouldn't tell me the details of what she went through. As I got older, though, she began to let small things slip - like about the times when he hit her...or worse. It took her so long to open up to me about this and even longer before she began allowing me to use her story to try to help others in her situation. When friends were being hurt, I would tell them about my mom and then she would tell them her story. This part is important because after eight years, when I was five and my father tried to begin abusing me, my mom got up the courage to leave him. For those sickened by this, you should know that he died when I was 15 from renal cancer.
I was too young at the time to recognize how hard my mom had it, but I did begin to see it as I grew older. She moved away from her life, left everyone she knew behind and moved us 6 hours away from him. I never saw him again.
My mom worked several jobs to take care of us while putting herself through college. Even after she graduated, she had a hard time finding employment that paid well. In fact, she was stuck in dead-end jobs for all her life. I always felt guilty, like I somehow had stopped her from becoming everything she could have become - but never once did she blame us. She told us always that we were the best thing that could have happened to her and that she never regretted having us. She also told us that we were her reason for existing. I love my mom.
We grew up poor, but we were always happy. I don't remember the struggles nearly as much as my mom does. She says we grew up in poverty, sometimes not eating, living in shabby apartments. I don't remember this. I remember spaghetti ice cream and her homemade baked goods (even after a 12 hour day). She remembers not being about to buy us a video game console - I remember games we used to play like throwing balled-up paper into a trash can like basketball or running around my mom on the carpet while she pretended to try to grab our ankles. She remembers having to drag us out of bed at 5am and bring us on a long busride because we didn't have a car - but I remember curling on my mom's lap and having a solid hour of snuggle-time while I slept on the way to daycare. Kids don't remember the struggles if they've got a loving environment, parents do. I know this now.
We were happy and we were loved. I feel bad that my mom dedicated her life to us and never found someone else to share her life with, but I can't say that I wish my past didn't happen. She gave us a life full of childhood fun, without any knowledge of materialism.
One thing I missed out on as a kid, though? Family vacations. Every year, during the summer, our friends went on vacations and we never did. I told my mom that it didn't matter - it wasn't as though it were going to kill us, but it did make me a little sad when I would hear kids talking about their vacations and when they asked girl the in second-hand clothes about her summer, all I could do was smile and say, "I just hung out."
I hope no one thinks I am being petty. I really do understand that I could have had it worse. Now I am 26 and my sister is 23. I've got a little boy and a little girl. My sister has a little boy. Our family is still a unit and hasn't split and spread far apart like a lot of others. We're a huge aspect of each other's lives. Now I just want to experience what everyone else got to experience as kids - a REAL family vacation where we don't have to worry about ANYTHING but sight-seeing, shopping, eating-out and bonding. The money I am asking for is a lot, yes, but it will cover airfare/transportation for 6 people, hotel, food, activities, shopping if there is enough?? We're hoping to go to Manhattan for 2 weeks.
Oh, yes. One last thing! My mom grew up in New York. She left New York for Colorado when she was 19, then moved to Washington with my sister and I when I was 19 and she was 45. Other than that, she has never been ANYWHERE. She wants to return to New York and visit the areas where she grew up in Richmond Hill - hangouts, her old school, maybe even see if anyone she knew as a girl lived in that neighborhood. We all want the vacation - but she wants to reclaim visions of her past as well and I want that for her.
We'll never be able to afford this on our own. Please help. Thank you SO much for at least reading all of that! Pass it along PLEASE!!! <3 Thank you!!!!