From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul


I was only two and a half when my real mom died. One morning, my brothers and I went to wake her up, but she wouldn’t answer us. When she didn’t respond to our calls, my oldest brother, Shane, got my dad. The last thing I remember about my real mom was watching the ambulance taking her away from us. Although I was too young to really understand what was going on, somehow I knew that she was gone forever.

After my mom died, my dad started abusing my brothers and me. We were sent away to live with relatives. My brothers were sent to live with their real dad, but their dad didn’t want me. I was sent to live with one relative after another. I was miserable almost all of the time. I thought that no one would ever want me. Finally, when I was four and a half, my mom’s sister, Bonnie, and her husband, Jesse, said that they would take me, and they became my legal guardians.

From then on, they became my family. I called Aunt Bonnie “Mom” and Uncle Jesse “Dad.” I felt really lucky because they also had two older kids that became my older brother and sister, and I didn’t miss my brothers as much. I finally felt at home, with a family again.

Then, when I was six, my Uncle Jesse was diagnosed with cancer. He was sick for a whole year, and finally died shortly after my seventh birthday. I missed him so much. I cried for days after losing him. I still cling to the present he gave me on my sixth birthday.

Shortly after Uncle Jesse died we all moved to a new house in a new town. My mom told us we moved because of a job opportunity she had there that she didn’t have in our old town. Now that it was up to her to support us, the move was important.

In our new house, I always felt kind of lonely and so did my brother and sister. We were in a new place and had to try to make new friends. It wasn’t all that easy, and we all still missed Uncle Jesse. We kids spent a lot of time alone in our new house because Mom was always working. But we all felt like we could make it if we stuck together as a family.

Then one summer, the beginning of a miracle happened. My mom took us camping, and we took our grandma along with us. My grandma met the man that was staying in the cabin next to ours, and she introduced him to the rest of us. We all ended up becoming friends with this guy, David. He was so funny. He would bring flowers to my mom and also to my grandma at the same time. Maybe he thought we didn’t know what he was up to, but we all knew. We didn’t mind because he was really a great guy.

After we came back from our camping trip, my mom and David kept in contact with phone calls and by writing to each other. Eventually, they started seeing each other even though he lived in another city and it was a long drive for him. David would visit my mom and take us all out. He even remembered my birthday, and sent a birthday present to me! We all really liked him.

Then, two years after they met, David proposed to my mom. They got married three days before my twelfth birthday. Even though they were gone on their honeymoon for my birthday, David and my mom made sure that I still had a birthday party.

After my mom married David, our family moved in with his family, and our two smaller families became one big family. I gained two more brothers and another sister. I guess we are kind of like the Brady Bunch! Our family now consists of my parents, David and Bonnie, six kids plus a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law, and two grand-babies—with another one on the way!

When I look back on it now, I have come a long way from being a sad and lonely little girl passed from relative to relative to being the person I am today—part of a big, happy family. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if my Aunt Bonnie hadn’t taken me in. She promised me that she would love me and take care of me—no matter what— and she has done exactly that. Without her in my life, I would have been a motherless child, but because of her I have a great family and the best mom in the world.

With my mom as my shining example, I have learned about strength, dedication and love. Even though I wasn’t born to her, she has been my mother in every way. She has been there to hold me when I’ve been sick, to help me with my homework, to support me when I’ve needed her and to work hard to take care of all of us. In return, I love her more than she’ll ever know. I don’t know what I would have done without her. These words are few, but they are from the bottom of my heart. . . .

Thanks, Mom. I love you!

Apryl Anderson, fifteen

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners