Defining Moments in Santa Clarita

California is more than a state or region. It is the place where I learned life long lessons. It is also where I had the opportunity to experience defining moments. 2013 was a year of growth and with many  learning experiences. It was also the year my brother was finishing his last year in high school. As stated from the previous post, I was jobless, heartbroken and going through much grief. However, I was down but not beaten.  I maintained my composure for my little brother as the ex and I cruised to Santa Clarita, California.

Photo Courtesy of Orion Magazine.

Santa Clarita is the 3rd largest city in Los Angeles County. It is north of the city of Los Angeles and was incorporated into its own city in December of 1987. Often called the Valley, the city incorporates the communities of Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia. People who live here still use the individual community names. Growing up, I always associated Santa Clarita with fun and adventure because is the location of Six Flags Magic Mountains. I used to take field trips from middle school to this amazing amusement park.

CS6: cyl pano, auto levels, 1 pass usm 150,1,2 lum

The ride to Santa Clarita was anything but fun. What is suppose to be a 30 minute ride from LA turned into an hour due to LA traffic. I was very nervous and confused on how I would introduce the ex to my family members. Would I introduce her as a good friend? Should I even introduce her to my family? I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t speak a word to her during the entire drive. As we arrived into the Valley, the mountains were intimidating and I felt as if they were judging me.

Photo Courtesy of Madelin Vasquez Polanco.

Upon arrival, I was distraught but I stayed positive and kept a smile on my face. This was a very important life event for my brother and I didn’t want any drama ruining it. My little brother was doing something that a lot of black males fail to do in LA. My brother overcame many obstacles in his life and my presence at this milestone was necessary. He was graduating from Golden Valley High School and I wanted him to know that there is no distance that would keep me from being there by his side on this special moment.


I felt so tense as I prepared myself for the graduation. I was trying to hide my pain with a sharp vest suit that I saved up for months to afford just for this special occasion. I really wanted to breakdown and cry but it would have to wait until after this special event.

The Canyon Country area of Santa Clarita. Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

I arrived at the school with the ex and she decided to wait in the car for a few minutes (good riddance!). As the graduation ceremony began, all feelings of hopelessness and sadness suddenly disappeared. The only thing that mattered at the moment was my little brother’s achievement. I cried out of pride and happiness. Even though our father was not there, I assured my brother that he was also very proud of him.

My little brother and I. Photo Courtesy of Anselma Smith.

I forgot everything I was feeling before and became overwhelmed by immense gratitude to see my brother walk across the stage (across the field to be exact). I was thankful to be able to travel across the other side of the country (New York City) regardless of my circumstances. I was also thankful to have a loving and caring family that didn’t judge me because of my situation. It was this defining moment that I realized that I had so much to be grateful for. Even with many setbacks, I felt like a champion of a big brother as I hugged my little brother.

My cousins and my little brother. Photo courtesy of Tony Polanco.


As the tides turned, I went from feeling like rock bottom to being on top of the world. Ironically, the ex returned from the car and as soon as she did, we noticed that the famous actress Meagan Good was also there to support her family. The ex was confused as by the sudden change in my spirit. She tried to gain my attention and steal the moment but I was too busy celebrating with my family and talking to Meagan Good.

My cousin and Meagan Good. Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.

Defining moments can come at times of despair and therefore we must take the time to recognize how challenges define who we are. This was my defining moment and I was so grateful to be able to travel for my brother’s graduation regardless of the setbacks.

What will be your defining moment?

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9 thoughts on “Defining Moments in Santa Clarita

  1. Waoooooo!!!! Great one indeed. While reading, many things were just going on in my mind. The thought of how painful it is when one tries t make ends meet but nothing good is forthcoming, when life tries to be unfair to people, etc. Your courage and perseverance saw you through. Bravoooooo!

    Liked by 1 person

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