Samantha Rodriguez is raising her five siblings and working two jobs while going to school full-time.
Life is full of responsibilities. We may choose to take them up or not, as the case may be. However, there are some that we must accept due of the circumstances. It’s also possible that one’s obligations are thrust upon them at a young age, in which case the only option is to accept the situation and do the best one can.
A cancer diagnosis shocked Samantha Rodriguez, 17, of Orlando, Florida, and her five younger siblings when they were all just 17 years old. Lisa Smith, their mother, passed away in 2013 after a battle with cervical cancer, according to a report by ABC. From that point on, they were taken care of by their father, Alexander Rodriguez. Sadly, he succumbed to cancer three years later and died of his illness.
Meet Samantha Rodriguez, the Florida 21-year-old who stepped up to raise her five siblings after both their parents died. https://t.co/4ndMjVMS8j— Inside Edition (@InsideEdition) March 2, 2020
Samantha was heartbroken, but she was also aware that she was the oldest of her siblings.
On The View, Samantha said, “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.”
She was well aware that the state’s foster-care system may be used to place her brothers. On the other hand, she was adamant about not going back on her father’s word to her mother. Because of this, she determined to try and keep the family together as much as she could.
21-year-old Samantha Rodriguez opened up to the co-hosts about taking on the roles of mom and dad to her five siblings after both parents died from cancer. https://t.co/Xyvw8TSDUx— The View (@TheView) December 9, 2019
I knew what I had to do,” Samantha told CNN when asked about her choice. “I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family.” She went on, saying, “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.”
Destiny, 7, Bella, 9, Michael, 12, Brenda, 15, and Milagros, 16, were all cared for by the now 21-year-old over the last several years. She fed, dressed, and sent them to school nearly completely on her own.
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
She works as a waitress while attending college part-time. According to The View, she opted to return to school for a specific purpose.
“I can’t tell them to be successful in school if I wasn’t. So that’s when I decided to go back, “she went on to say. “When I [graduated], the kids were very proud of me, and they came to my graduation, and it was amazing.” She wanted them to appreciate the importance 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.”
During a conversation about her seemingly insurmountable schedule and her ability to carry it through, she noted, “I get a lot of that strength from my mother. I spent a lot of time with her, and I admired her so much.”
While appearing on The View with Whoopi Goldberg, Samantha was asked what one lesson her parents taught her that she treasured the most, to which she replied, “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.
In Milagros Rodriguez’s words, her elder sister “gave up basically her life to take care of us” and that “Sam is a mom and a dad to us.”
“I try to give them the love that they need and the support they need, and I try to do it for two,” Taking care of her younger siblings is a huge priority for her “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.”