For the first few years of my life, I lived with my father and my mother in a small apartment building. Throughout this time my life had been consistent; my mother would take care of us, and my father would come home later in the day. Then, one day I remember seeing my mother crying. Oblivious to why she was crying, I still went to comfort her.
After a few days, my mother had taken us on a long ride to a prison. Although my father was surrounded by guards, and clearly behind a glass screen, which connected a phone to both sides to allow for conversation, it had not occurred to me he had been arrested and put in a prison. Having to drive hours just to visit my father was the first of many changes in my life. After his arrest, my mother, two siblings, and I moved in with my grandmother.
To me, living with my grandparents seemed like it would be fun. This innocent ideology distracted me from the reality that we were now going to be living in a 2-bedroom apartment with seven people. I shared a bed with my brother and sister. We lived like this for a few months.
Even though it seemed like it was an extremely unpleasant situation, it was not that bad. I made friends with kids at the apartment, my grandparents were extremely welcoming, and it was close to the school I would be attending.
I continued to adjust to the changes. Then, I remember my mom telling us to gather our stuff and put everything into boxes. These boxes were then put into my grandfather’s car and he left. He came back about a week later. The car was empty and most of our stuff was gone.
My family and I got into the car and began driving. I did not know where we were going. The car ride was extremely long and uncomfortable. We stopped at a hotel that was in the middle of nowhere, but we were glad to finally be in a bed.
In the early morning, my mother woke us up, and we were on our way again.
After a day or two, my mom parked in front of a green building. I looked around. The weather was beautifully warm. My mother told me that we were in Florida.
We entered the front door. I ran around and counted four rooms, a huge kitchen, two bathrooms. It was like a dream come true! Then I ran to the backyard to find a pool. We moved all our stuff in and made this house our home. We lived here for a few years.
Then, we moved back to chicago. At this point, I was not as oblivious to my surroundings as I was when my father was arrested; I understood now.
When we arrived in Chicago, I remember we were driving down a street, where I saw a man waving. My mother parked the car near the man.
It took me a few seconds, but I recognized this man. He was my father. We all ran to him and hugged him. His arrest sent my family on a journey through many changes. Although I am disappointed I lost those few years with my father, the changes his arrest sent us through helped me grow and become a better person.
Written by Jesus Merida
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jobs For Felons Hub’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License