In addition to turning 15, falling in love for the first time, and dealing with my grief and the grief that surrounded me, I was also responsible for taking care of my Auntie's older two children. My uncle paid me, but the expectation was for me to be there for them for more than just day to day care.
To this day I feel like I failed miserably. I failed by my standards. I couldn't comfort and care for and be everything they were missing. We were confined to a house that had my Auntie around every corner. It was a small, cozy, home, but the space felt impossible to fill.
The kids needed love, spontaneity, discipline, routine, fun, and activity, not to mention clean clothes and nutritious food. The only thing I had to give completely was my love for them. Even that fell short, because of the mother that was missing. I allowed them too much time in front of the TV and Spaghettio's were served more frequently then was healthy. My grandmother was just a few houses away and provided back up when needed; she had other pillars to uphold; this one was mine.
I felt defeated every day. I was grieving. I had more responsibility than I could handle. The shoes were too big and though I tried desperately to fill them.
The boy continued to be my refuge.