“So, Rosie … do you want to go to the Ringling Brothers Circus for their final show?” my dad asks happily.
“Of course, I would love to go! Can you tell me why you’ve always loved it so much?” I ask, thinking he might not tell me.
“Sure,” he says. “Well, I proposed to your mom there. It was perfect. When it started, the lights were at the perfect angle, the clowns were blowing kisses at her during the show, the lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” He pauses to see if I’m still listening, which I am.
“So is that it?” I ask, sort of regretting my question.
“No,” my dad says. “At intermission, it was amazing. The clowns came by in white and gave her a bouquet of flowers, and I gave her a ring that I made. I was so happy with what she answered. Of course she said yes. Then as the show went on, the clown that blew her kisses swatted his hand at her like she was nothing. He’s not getting my lady!”
My dad recounted the story with a sad twinkle in his eye.
Growing up, my family did a lot of volunteer work with our neighborhood. My uncle Barry was in charge of town watch; my dad did the tree planting in the neighborhood; and my mom organized an activity every month. It could be a bus trip to New York or Longwood Gardens, Christmas caroling, or craft fairs. My mom was a friend to everyone, whether they were rich or poor, black or white.
When I was three years old, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Our community was amazing. They made us food and helped take care of her. They had a fundraiser so that my dad didn’t have to work and could spend all his time in the hospital. They also did it so we wouldn’t lose our house. People also watched me when my dad was at the hospital late. My mom died a few months later. This impacted my life a lot. Without a mom, my dad is so awesome to help me and still work. Even though I was very young, I love the community. It helps me every day when my dad works late so I can go to school.
My dad and I have a very strong connection and will always be there for each other. We still help out in the neighborhood, and everyone we know is very supportive. We also went to the last Ringling Brothers Circus together. It makes me sad that the circus that made my life isn’t here anymore, but it will always be in our hearts. The community is part of me because it has always helped and supported us. Also the community sometimes lets my dad leave early just so I don’t get lonely or so he can bring me to a place. Sometimes he even says no to work to spend time with me. I try to have a positive impact on other people even though they don’t know what I’ve been through. I miss her a lot, but since my dad is so awesome, he’s basically like two parents. He is very supportive when I’m crying about her, and he understands me. My dad and I are very supportive to families that have a family member with cancer because we have been there. I am happy that cancer treatments are getting better and better. This is why I love community.