Written by April Valenzuela
My family is the one thing that I constantly worry about these days. I am the eldest of three siblings. Growing up we went through a lot of things together, that most people wouldn't normally go through. My parents are alcoholics. We grew up seeing my parents fight verbally and physically. They separated when I was 12 yrs old. We stayed with my father for about 6months, gradually moving to my grandmothers, then to Phoenix , Arizona to stay with my mother and her boyfriend. My mother and her boyfriend always drank and always fought. I saw my mother get beaten more than my father ever had, or than what we actually saw. Her boyfriend was always trying to hit on me. During that time my mother was constantly accusing me of liking this jerk, so I guess that’s why he continued to harass me. I could have run away or just given up and moved with relatives, but I stuck it through and watched over my two sisters and my brother. Eventually we were able to get away and move into a housing project. I had never known of this area, I didn't know what kind of place I was living in until maybe 1 year living there. I never heard gunshots so close, or experienced gang violence. By this time my mother was always drinking. I was 14yrs old when I was always left in charge, woken in the middle of the night to hear my mothers bar stories. She would yell and make us feel like prisoners at home. She would leave weeks at a time. I started to work to keep money around when she left and I bought school clothes for me and my siblings. In the 9th grade I met an annoying immature guy named Alberto. The teacher I had at the time liked to pick on me personally. Mr. Munoz told Alberto “Sit behind the beautiful girl in the front row.” I automatically knew it was me, so that’s when our eyes met. I was in a terrible relationship still with a guy named Keith, who would always cheat on me and we argued constantly. After the childish games of hair pulling, kicking of my desk and pushing me aside when the bell rang, Alberto and I started to talk a lot more. We became boyfriend and girlfriend in May of 1998. This person has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I never knew what it was like to be treated like a queen and to have unconditional love returned. My mother gave him the hardest time, she just wouldn't accept him. I know deep down she was jealous of my attention towards someone else. I was constantly imprisoned, Alberto ended up staying with his aunt in the same projects to be closer to me. His mother and sister moved to New Mexico by that time. Alberto agreed to take summer school just to be near me. We barely saw each other we wrote letters every day sometimes even twice a day, we had neighborhood kids deliver our letters for us. After 5 months together Alberto's mother requested that he was to move to New Mexico with her. This was the hardest thing to go through. We wrote letters and I didn't have a telephone so we couldn't call each other. About three months later Alberto was able to talk his mother into letting him stay with his father in Mesa , AZ. Which was an hour bus ride away from me. We were convinced we wanted to be together forever and didn't want to be torn apart. We planned my pregnancy, which now that I think about it if we hadn’t. I would have had to move with my mother, who wanted to move with her boyfriend who used to beat the crap out of her. I had to make the difficult decision of leaving my family to be with my boyfriend and our child. We got married at 17 in March of 2000. We are still together and going strong. We have our son Michael ,age 7, Anthony ,age 4 and our little surprise Audriana, age 3. The youngest was the only unexpected gift that we've received. As for my siblings, 4 months after I was married, we moved to my mother’s home in a northern AZ town to raise my siblings, so my mother could go to prison for DUI. Since last year in August 2007 my husband and I were finally able to live alone as a couple. We love it a lot. My eldest of two sisters, Cecilynn, is married to an immature prick and his over barring mother. She has two beautiful daughters. My youngest sister, Marsha, is finishing high school she's with my brother in law and has a son named Carlos. I love her to death but still makes me angry she's had everything given to her in life, I just hope she'll learn. Actually as much as she put me through, running away, probation, courts, juvie she has learned to respect me and my husband. My brother is in prison now. He is in a gang that, I had no idea of, he was introduced to when we lived in the housing projects. If I had known I would have whopped his ass, especially knowing what I later found out. He is an alcoholic and he uses street drugs. He has a beautiful son named Adam, who looks just like him. It hurts.. I write him as often as I can. I'm just tired of worrying about him. My mother and I are still talking. After months of refusing to deal with her drama, I was reunited by the aunt I love and respect. My mother is still trying to get over this jerk she's been involved with off and on all these years. I still to this day love and can't stand my mother sometimes. I left out a lot of drama over these years but I had to start from the very beginning. These days I 'm trying to focus on my husband and our babies. We are trying to continue our education and rebuild our dreams together. I want my kids to know that after all years of putting ourselves last, we can achieve so much together for our babies. I am very grateful to have this wonderful husband that has helped me over these years. So many others would of just walked away and never looked back. In conclusion I love my crazy, beautiful and dramatic family.