A girl is juggling a part-time job and college while feeding, clothing and bringing up her 5 siblings.
Samantha Rodriguez from Orlando, Florida was only 17 years old when she and her five younger siblings lost both their parents due to their can*cer. Their mom, Lisa Smith, breathed her last from cervical can*cer in 2013. Alexander Rodriguez, who is their father, took care of the family from then on. However, sadly, he also fell ill and left his children due to lym*phoma three years later.
Though devastated, Samantha was very aware that she was the eldest to her brothers and sisters.
Samantha told: “My reality [was] I’m 17 but these are my brothers and sisters, and when I looked at them, I knew that they’re children,” .
“They’re vulnerable and they need an adult, so I became their adult.”
Samantha was very aware that her siblings could be sent to the state’s foster-care system. However, she was determined not to break her dad’s promise to her mother. So, she decided that she would try and do everything possible to keep the family together.
Samantha said about her decision: “I knew what I had to do,”
“I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family.”
“When we lost her, I knew that I wanted to be just like her in every way. That’s what I wanted to do for the kids.”
So, the now 21-year-old girl spent the last few years providing for Destiny, 7; Bella, 9; Michael, 12; Brenda, 15; and Milagros, 16. She kept them fed, clothed, and attending school regularly, almost entirely by herself.
The Rodriguez kids lost both parents to cancer in recent years. Samantha, 20, has taken on the role of caregiver to her five younger siblings. The kids thought they were visiting the OCSO Aviation Unit for a tour. Instead, they received a Christmas none of us will ever forget! pic.twitter.com/1Bs4w6PQob
— Orange County Sheriff’s Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) December 24, 2018
Samantha also goes to college part-time and has a job as a waitress. There is a reason why she decided to go back to school.
She explained: “I can’t tell them to be successful in school if I wasn’t. So that’s when I decided to go back,”
“When I [graduated] the kids were very proud of me and they came to my graduation and it was amazing.” It was important to her that they understood the value of education. “I didn’t know people who graduated high school or went college, and I didn’t have that direction so it was hard for me,” Samantha said. “When I realized that I wanted the kids to finish and that I wanted them to be successful, I was like I need to give them that example and show them.”
Talking about what seems to be an impossible schedule and her strength to actually do it, Samantha said, “I get a lot of that strength from my mother. I spent a lot of time with her and I admired her so much.”
When asked what was the one thing that she cherishes that her parents taught them, Samantha responded saying, “They showed us not to take anything for granted. That’s something I try to teach the kids. At the end of the day, the material things don’t matter. What’s given can be taken away so fast. The only thing that really matters is family and love and support,” she said.
Milagros Rodriguez said her older sister “gave up basically her life to take care of us” and that “Sam is a mom and a dad to us.”
Samantha added: “I try to give them the love that they need and the support they need, and I try to do it for two,”. For Samantha, taking care of her siblings is “is what makes me, me. It makes me so happy to be with them and to be there for them. It’s very enjoyable for me.”
Source: newsner.com, ABC News, The View, CNN,