My mother is so dear to me. I can remember that she was always there. I always felt safe and secure with her and never sensed a lack of anything although I found out later when I was much older that she had gone through a lot of hard times. I wanted to grow up to be like her a woman who was strong, hardworking and highly principled. I remember when she used to take me and my siblings on family vacations and the good times we shared as a family. My mother was funny and fun to be around. My two oldest children had the opportunity to experience her kind and sweet spirit, but she passed away when they were just toddlers.
My grandmother brings back a lot of fond memories. I remember how she made my belly aches go away. If I had a bad day, I always looked forward to sharing them with her because I knew she would make my day feel brighter. She was always there when we got back home from school. She was the balance we had at home being that my mom was a single mother who was out working a lot. She is the one who would tell my mom to be lenient with us when she had to discipline us. I remember she used to take us to some of her community events to the big departmental store in town. These used to be enjoyable times we looked forward to. She would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up and listen to us and encourage us that we could do it.
My dad was there briefly when I was a child, I don’t remember my time with him as a young child. Our relationship started improving when I was about 37 years old and he became a remarkable grand father to my children. He passed away just a few years ago and my children have the fondest memories of him.
My sister, Vera is just one year older than me and we were always mistaken to be twins. We did so many things together as kids: played, went places and even got in trouble together. We were partners in crime! I was more of the “Tom Boy” and she was the ladylike one. She was the voice of reason telling me to be careful and not to hurt myself. I tried to make her try more daring stunts. We still get together today with our children and often remember the fun times we shared when we were younger. We also make sure we create new memories.
My little sister, Nadya was like my little baby doll. I felt responsible to make sure she was always doing fine. She is so precious to me. We laugh and told each other funny stories. I am careful what I tell her because she looks up to me and has emulated a lot of the things I do. We are still very close and check on each other almost every week though she lives in Cameroon, Africa. Our children get together almost every summer and spend time together.
My childhood memories would not be complete if I do not mention my cousin, Seun. She is a very vivid part of my childhood. We always spent our summers together. She is 3 years older than me and I looked up to her and believed everything she said. We had a lot of fun together and did a lot of mischievous things as kids. She is just like a sister and mostly everyone knew us as sisters instead of cousins. She defended me if anyone tried to pick on me.
My little brother Anton was born when I was 13 years old. It was fun to have another baby in the house after so long. He is a funny one and brought life to our home. I remember him as a child climbing places and being so active. He used to poke at us and run away and I remember he was always smiling, laughing and being mischievous. He became more like a son to me after our mom passed away when he was 14 years old. He lives close to our home and we see each other often. He is very much a part of my children’s lives and they look up to him.