My day usually started off with the words, “Smell my feet”. It was my mad uncle, Steve. Uncle Steve was as weird as they come. He wasn’t simply just going to leave me alone, after irritating me, ruining my day and making me want to puke by thinking of his smelly feet.

Here’s how it usually goes; he’ll irritate me, put his stinky feet in my face, oh and then tell me, “I’ll put you back in school”. Not like I even know what that means, like what the heck? I’m already in school. He doesn’t think about the misery he’s causing me. Instead, he thinks of it as jokes, and guess what? I’m only 13 years old, meaning I will have these memories for the rest of my life.

I’m 13, living in the dazzling city of Las Vegas. You know what they say right? What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. I know right? Life must be so amazing? Not so much! My family, oh, they’re a living horror. So, here’s how my day goes; I go to school, not to even mention what a headache that is; then I would come home to a father that orders me around, do this, do that like there’s no tomorrow. Not to mention that after he orders me around, he sends me to my granny’s house to pick up something. Wait, what? Oh no, not my granny. Please, not her!

Yes, my granny is one of those odd grannies from the movies; saggy skin, long nails with dirt underneath it, no teeth and they are always munching on something. My granny has dentures. She says that it was “the trend” back in the day to remove all their teeth, but I think that her teeth were just rotten.

At least when I go there, I could see my baby cousin. His name is Jamal and he is four years of age. Jamal is my cousin on my father’s side. He is the cutest thing that I have ever seen. I love him so much. He is the highlight of my trip to my grandmother’s house. He has grown so much since I had last seen him. I remember being there when he was born. That’s a funny story actually… The doctors told my aunt that she would be expecting a baby girl, so my aunt, along with her fiancé, bought pink baby clothes for Jamal. They were so shocked when they got a baby boy. They say he is a gift from The Almighty. He was so tiny and fragile, if my memory serves me correct, he weighed just more than one kilogram and could fit in a shoe box.

My family wasn’t really big on reunions. When they had reunions, my granny always tried to make it perfect, whilst the others were angry at one another. There was always trouble coming at reunions or any other family functions, for that matter. It’s either my uncle was drunk, or my aunt was swearing at her fiancé. We had a reunion for my birthday, April 2nd.

Happy birthday to me! Yes, it was my birthday, finally! I waited a whole year for this day. I got gifts from my granny, uncle Steve and from my sister. I was going to get more gifts later on at the reunion. I was a bit nervous to see what the reunion was going to bring, because there is always trouble, but deep down I had a little bit of hope.

It was finally afternoon, the time of the reunion, but everyone was “fashionably late” as they called it. I decided to go to Electric Avenue, an entertainment centre a few blocks away from the hotel I was staying in, Caesar’s Palace. At Electric Avenue, I went to the video games section to check out the latest, hoping I would soon get a call from my grandmother saying my whole family had arrived. One and a half hours later, I finally got the call. I was actually disappointed in the fact that they were late, but it’s never too late to hand out gifts.

It took me approximately ten minutes to get back to the hotel. When I got there, I drank some orange juice, then, as I went to put the glass down, I saw all my gifts! I was shocked. I didn’t expect to get so many gifts. I decided to open them all except the biggest one.
I got the latest Grand Theft Auto game, a new iPad in a blue cover, some accessories and even a $100 gaming voucher! Wow, I was so shocked! My dad even bought cake! That was so unlike him.

I wasn’t sure if I should open the biggest gift box now, because I’ve been told that it was “very special”. I decided not to open it until after lunch.

We finally sat down for the family lunch, in chaos. Yes, I said it. Chaos! My aunt was at it again, swearing like there’s no tomorrow. Not to mention my uncle and his, “smell my feet” which really upset me because they were causing havoc on my birthday. Finally, my granny silenced them. She insisted that they should sing for me, and that I should blow out the candles.

“Happy birthday to you,” sung by my family, I was blushing like there’s no tomorrow.

Before I could even think about making a wish or blowing out the candles, they started again. I decided to just ignore them. I made a wish and blew out my candles. I wished that my family could stop their nonsense and live in perfect harmony, which they eventually did.

A week after my birthday, my family started changing, sort of. My aunt stopped her swearing, and everybody started seeing eye to eye. Finally, my uncle, Steve, stopped with his “smell my feet” comment. But eventually, he started with, “smell my breath”, which was better because his breath didn’t actually stink that much. My family was the closest to perfect that they would ever be, and this made me realise how precious family really is. I know that my family was not perfect, and, despite of my wish. But, you can’t choose family. And I am grateful for them. Family first, always!

***

Tell us: Are you grateful for your family?