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  • Writer's pictureSharon McClellan Thomason

Through the Eyes of an 11-year-old Child Living at Risk

It seems like I’m the only one in my life that lives with my grandmother and grandfather. They are great and all, probably better than most, but I hate being different . . .  I don’t get to see my dad ever and rarely see my mom. When I do see my mom, we always have fun. We go to the park and play on the equipment, we go bowling, or to the mall, and sometimes we all go out to eat, which is really nice because we can just sit and snuggle and talk.

But I just want a normal life.

And let’s not forget the fact that I’m surrounded by family members with HD. My grandmother died of it, I live with my uncle who has it, my Nana’s sons (I call them my uncles) are at risk, and their dad who I called Uncle Joe died of it. It was really sad going to his funeral and seeing my uncles so upset. I suppose this means my mom is at risk, too, but she won’t test. I don’t tell Mom this, but I really wish she would test, so we might know if having HD was part of her problem. Then I know I’d be sad if she tested positive and scared that I might get it. I still think it’d be better if we knew.

I JUST want a normal life.

I have friends that are really great that I can talk to, and some of them have parents that are divorced, and they spend time with each parent or just one parent. It’s not really the same, but they have some understanding of my situation at least.

And we just want a normal life.

I love staying with my grandparents, but I really want to move back with my mom and maybe start seeing my dad. Both my parents have had trouble with drugs and alcohol, and my mom is in recovery now . . . I’m so proud of her. I know she can do this and get a place for us to live.

I just want a normal life.

Where I live now, I have my own room, all decorated with Star Wars, and we have two dogs, Max and Sandy. We also had cats, but they died, and they weren’t very friendly with me anyway. Someday, I’d like my own cat or a guinea pig. That would be so cool.

I just want a normal life.

My grandparents try to help me as much as they can. I see counselors whom I like, and Nana takes me to the movies and signs me up for stuff like soccer, karate, Lego robotics, and other things. We used to go to the library and read with a Golden Retriever and also go to the YMCA.

But I just want a normal life.

I sometimes get so angry, and I don’t even realize it because of my ADHD. I’ve done some pretty destructive things that could have hurt me, but I honestly didn’t think about that at the time. I don’t understand why my mom won’t see me more. My grandparents are very willing to take me to see her any time, so I get really frustrated that I don’t see her as much as I would like. My counselor is helping me with this.

I just want a normal life.

Maybe I’ll never be able to live with my mom again, but I know with the loving attention of my grandparents, counselors, friends, teachers, and extended family, I will have a good life and opportunities to help myself live a good life later.

I just want a normal life . . . and what IS a normal life?

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