Phoenix in the Dark: Growing Up
Growing up, I always envied the children that I went to school or church with because they had both their parents. I often dreamed of what it must be like to have both parents loving and encouraging me, helping me with all the things that one learns about when growing up. I never knew what it felt like to have a mom wrap her arms around me and love me through all of my growing pains.
I was blessed to have my grandparents to love me and raise me as their own. My oldest sister, Lanette and I were all each other had for a long time. When I was about ten years old, my sister went to Georgia to stay with my aunt. My aunt was expecting her third child and had just lost her husband in a terrible trucking accident. So, my sister went to stay with her and ended up staying there forever. I felt so lost and alone. No one realized how isolated I felt with my sister away.
I felt that I missed out on a lot of things in life because my grandparents were older and wasn’t in the best of health. I couldn’t go places that my classmates or friends would go because my grandmother would often say “my heart is bothering me” or “my arthritis is acting up.” And I would often hear “we don’t go places like that because it is a sin.” My bedroom and stereo became my best friend.
My grandmother made all of our clothes, including our coats and underclothes. I admired my grandmother for being so skillfully domesticated. I wish I’d learned these skills from her. I remember going through a JC Penney catalogue and circling outfits that I liked. My grandmother would make patterns out of newspaper and make those outfits for me.
My grandfather was a very busy man. He was always working. He was the water superintendent for the village of Loving, NM. He was also quite involved in tending to his garden. I loved the fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, okra and other vegetables that he would grow. He would take me out to the garden and teach me how to plant the seeds, water the soil, and fertilize the garden. I would always go out to the garden when I came home from school for lunch and pick fresh vegetables, wash them and eat them raw. They tasted so good.
The most difficult part of my childhood was dealing with the fact that other people did not accept me. I was backwards, shy, and my self-confidence level was nil to none. It seemed like everyone I ever loved had died or left me. I always felt so alone, even in a room full of people. No one realized the depression that was creeping into my life, not even my doctors. I was sick more often than not. I had more sick days than days I actually attended school. It was a wonder that I ever learned anything, but somehow I did.
When one thinks back over their life, it is so easy to see the guiding hand of God even when you don’t understand the roadmap, or the route it took to get one from birth to where they are today. Each day is filled with tests that eventually become your testimony of strength and endurance. Looking back, I do not know how else I could have made it other than the hand of God on my life. Parents love and appreciate your children; they are a precious gift and only on loan to us. Kids, honor and appreciate your parents. God commands it in his word.