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I felt the warmth of my mother's hands on my soft skin while she held my face. Her soft voice whispered in my ear "good night". It was a cold winter night after Christmas as my mother tucked me in to bed, like she always had. After telling me good night her lips hit my cheek to give me the last kiss she ever would. As she walked out, I told her "I love you with all my heart and always will." In the, morning the warmth of the sun hit my face and woke me up like any other morning, but something was different, something just wasn't right. I lay in my warm bed, trying to ascertain why I wasn't feeling right. I jumped out of bed and woke my little brother up to go eat breakfast. As we walked down the hall, I heard my dad pouring a cup of hot coffee.

"Daddy is mom still sleeping," I asked. Mom will be gone for a while but baby, don't worry he told my brother and me in a sad voice. We will be just fine. I didn't understand why my mom would be gone though. I asked myself " will she ever come back?" Seven years have gone by and still my mom is gone, and my life has changed more than I thought it would. " Jess, get Drew's clothes ready for school tomorrow," my dad would admonish me every night before going to bed. Making sure my brother would be ready for school every morning, making sure he ate breakfast before he left for school, and making sure his homework was done everyday was what my mother used to do every morning and day; but now she is gone. Now that she is gone I have to take that place.

Now that I am the only lady in the house, I have to be the mother. No more going out on Friday nights with my friends, no more doing whatever I want. Every Friday, my friends would go out to the movies, and have fun without me. I had to stay home and make sure everything was right for my family. Now I have responsibilities like my brother who is now like my son. He thinks of me as not only a sister but a mother too. When you hear an eight year old boy call you mom and you are as young as me, it's the scariest feeling you can have.

The warm salty tears run down my cheek as I dream of the life of a teenager I have never experienced. I long for the loud noise of people yelling and cheering, "Go team go," and a crowd of people around me at a school football game. The thought of just being with my friends brings tears to my eyes. "Why me, why me" I constantly ask myself while lying in bed. Then I think how special my life is with my family, how strong I have became well going through all this. I have matured before I was ready but that maturity is my strength. Going to college is one of my big dreams, and I know my dad and brother will do anything to make that dream come true. I know they will stand by my side as I take that chance. I know life is difficult; I have experienced that but now I thank that experience for the perseverance to sustain me though college.