This was a day like no ordinary day. I had awakened before my alarm, which never happens. I felt happy, I had just been in a whirlwind of depression. The closest person to me was gone, but not by death you see, by war. Our country is at war and my dad was thousands of miles across the seas and I was here. He has been gone for 6 months now and there is no news on when he will be able to come back. You may be thinking “don’t you have your mom?” Well, no, I do not have her. She left when my dad was taken away. I mean yes, she is here but not really so I guess you can understand how I fell into a whirlwind of depression. But today was different I never wanted to go to school but I felt like I had to go. Dad used to drive me to school it was like our little time together. See I was not like your normal teenager, who locked themselves in their bedroom and wanted nothing to do with their parents. I loved family time but the rides to school were extra special because dad would always tell me some clever little riddle that would always end with the saying “things are always better than they seem.” Up until this point I believed him. Now that dad was gone, I had to walk to school and every step made me miss him more and more.
Once I was ready for school I went and made my mom breakfast, nothing fancy oatmeal, fruit, and apple juice. I fix her breakfast every day before I leave, and I do not really know if she eats it but it is always clean when I get home.
As I was taking the tray to her room, I was stopped by the words I heard coming from the news anchor “President Lightfoot is now ordering that US soldiers time at war be extended...” I was hoping my mother had not heard that but by the way she yelled I knew she heard it loud and clear. My dad was not a soldier to begin with, he was drafted. I went and put her breakfast on her dresser headed out the house. I could not help but think “what good can I see out of this?” Nonetheless I felt like something unusual when going to happen. For all the madness that was happening around something unusual may not have been bad. As I made it to the end of the street, I could hear a car speeding up behind me, but I just kept walking. Then I started to hear my mother yelling my name, “Sabrina, Sabrina!” I turned and saw my mother driving to catch up with me. “Mommy, what are you doing?” I said in shock. “You didn’t think I would forget your birthday, did you?” My mom said with her body halfway out the car. I nearly fainted how could I forget the most important day in a teenager life? Her 16th birthday. I stood in a trance for a while, “your father and I had this whole day planned out for you. When we realized I would be the only here to celebrate with you we put this box together for you.” I went around the car and got in. Mom placed the box on my lap and gave me the okay to open it. There were all kinds of random but needed items in the box, fuzzy socks, chocolate candy, a phone case, but my eyes went to this gently used but ancient looking small black notebook. In was a journal of some sort and kind mysterious. I took it out and examined it, I had never seen it before, so I was very interested in what was inside.
Dear MyJoy, if you are reading this either I was able to give it to you or you found it in my things.
I looked at my mom, this book was for her. “Your grandma left that for me when I was about your age. Keep reading.”
Today is Friday December 4, 2020 I’m lying-in bed quarantined not able to see or touch anyone. As you know I have COVID-19 and you have been with your dad for about a week now. I miss you like crazy.
I began to cry but I was not sad I always wanted to know my grandma. She passed away from COVID-19, a virus that caused a world wide pandemic and killed millions of people, when my mom was still a teenager. Now I felt like she was talking to me. “Oh, baby you’re going to make me cry, keep on reading your almost at the good part.”
You are my joy and I know you know it. Now you know how momma loves to play with numbers so I figure I would create a maze for you to follow and when you complete the maze, I’m sure you will be surprised.
My mom had started to drive while I was reading, “it says we should head to Lincoln Park Drive.” I looked it my mom and she was smiling from ear to ear, she knew exactly where this maze would lead us. When we arrived at Lincoln Park Drive, I could feel moms’ eyes on me so I began to read aloud "head in the direction where the sunsets count the stop lights 1, 2, 3, 4 and right is your way." As I read this to myself all I could think is grandma must have been so much fun.
"My mom loved me so much." I could see my mom go off into deep thought she smiled so bright I have not seen her so happy in a while. "I mean we would do things like this all the time. She would take me on rides around the town and show me all the history of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.”
“So maybe we can start taking rides like that I want to learn more about our town, I want to spend more time with you."
Without breaking her smile tears began to fall from her face. "I never thought I could live up to my mothers greatness so I didnt even try. You are my love and I would do anything to make you happy so yes I will ride around with you to the end of the earth." I looked at her and smiled, something new to start with my mom. "Here we are at the fourth light keep reading, keep reading!” “As you travel down this long road imagine how God created every single thing to fall in place. Not one thing is out of line. When I think of you I thank God you are my dream come true perfect in all your imperfections. As this road has a direction so do you but it is up to you to choose where you are going but I promise if you let God lead you end up right where you want to be.” I looked at mom tears begin to flow from her eyes but she did not seem sad. It seemed like she could feel grandma’s presence all over her.
Now we have been driving for about an hour and the notes grandma left are just about done. I can honestly say I did not want this time to end. Mom and I were having the time of our lives.
“I guess you can see I already know where we will end up,” mom said with a little chuckle. “Yea I knew that once we left Lincoln Park Drive.”
“What time is it?” I looked at my phone “9:23.” “Perfect.” Ma said
Now I was beginning to get a little anxious, I did not know what to expect. We pulled into the parking lot of a bank. “Let’s go.”
When we got inside mom told me to go to the counter and tell them my name and that I was here for my 9:30 appointment.
“Hi I am Sabrina Parks and I am here for my 9:30 appointment.” The clerk got very excited “Yes, yes! We will be right with you and happy 16th birthday to you.” Her excitement was a little weird what could mom be bringing me to that has people who don’t even know me excited. I looked at mom and she was just as excited.
“Sabrina and Mrs. Parks please join me in room 4.” When we entered the room there were balloons and a small cake with th number 16 written on it. Before I could speak mom said “oh my you all really outdone yourselves!” Everyone laughed a little “Thank you so much” I said. Mom didn’t know that they were going to decorate for me.
“Good morning I am Jonathan Stevens and I will be sharing some very special information with you today.” I sat up in my chair as straight as I could.
“In 2020 I woman by the name of ShaNae Curtis called in and said she wanted to start a trust fund for her daughter. She explained to the workers at the time that she was sick from Covid 19 and did not think she would make it. She transferred what she had in her savings which was just under $1,000 to this trust fund. Nine years later a young lady named MyJoy Parks came in and learned about about what her mother had done and decided she wanted to turn it over to her daughter. So now we are here 25 years after Ms Curtis start this account.”
I looked at my mom and I grabbed her for a hug as I began to cry I said “Mom $1,000 are you sure?” She kissed my forehead, “Mr. Stevens could you explain the amount she is truly getting please?”
“My pleasure. Over the past 25 years the trust fund has been gaining something called interest. So yes it started out with about $1,000 but know you are looking at $20,000.” I jumped up, I did not know what to do “Mom what is happening?”
“Today you will leave the bank with your own bank account and $2,000 of your trust fund. Next year on your birthday you will receive another $2,000 and when you are 18 $5,000. At age 21 the whole trust fund will be yours to decide what will happen from then.”
I received my debit card with my name on it picked up my cake mom gathered the balloons. “Mom this is the best day we have had in a long time. Thank you and I love you.” we walked out of room 4.
“See, I told you things are always better than they seem.” a familiar voice from behind me said so I turned around.