Whew! The power of your words and the scenes evoked are amazing. Your writing is alive and grabs the heart. I hope that is not a true summary of the childhood of your siblings and you; because I know many people who think they had a rough childhood and use it as an excuse for a negative life. That you can find love in so much trauma and gratitude in so much sadness is a credit to the human spirit and yours. If you are telling of the lives of others and not your own, the reality of how people live strikes painfully at a place where we forget that in this beautiful United States life is not beautiful for everyone - and they are not deserving of the pain they suffer - no child in this country should face such obstacles and challenges so young. Wealth is everywhere, yet poverty is growing. I don't know how so many people can live in such excess while education, mentoring, urban development, community centers, health care and more go begging for so many with needs. I guess it's like the people who walk over those lying on the streets in India - they close their hearts and minds believing they cannot do anything. Rather, I believe like the girl throwing starfish into the water, stranded by the tide, who answers her father who stresses the futility and that it can make little difference. "It makes a difference to this one," she says as she tosses one more back into the safety of the surf.