The Dart: Burgets give ‘family’ new definition

Published 12:40 am Monday, November 12, 2007

NATCHEZ — At first, they might look like your stereotypical family. Two parents, two teenage girls and a 2-year-old boy.

That is, until you hear one of the girls call the woman “Heather.”

When Heather Burget’s sister, Tracey Roberts, died two years ago from an unexpected brain aneurism, two of Roberts’ daughters, Anna Bet, now 16, and Sela, 13, went to live with Heather and her husband, Brad.

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For several weeks before she died, Heather’s sister “knew something wasn’t right,” Heather said. “She told Sela if anything ever happened to her she wanted them to come and live with me. She died two weeks later.”

At first, the change in family makeup was a little jarring, Heather said. The Burgets had just had their first child, a son, Barrett, 12 weeks before. Neither had raised daughters, let alone teenage daughters.

It was a little tricky for both sides to adjust to their new situation.

The Burgets got instant teenage daughters, and the two girls got parents who were stricter than they expected.

The hardest part for Heather was juggling the girls’ activities.

“They had ballet, cheerleading and softball,” she said. “Just getting them to and from everything was really difficult.”

It helped when the older of the two, Anna Bet, earned her driver’s license. And, to make room for everyone, the family recently bought a bigger car and moved to a larger house.

“Now, it’s wonderful,” Heather said. “Things have smoothed out. Both are very respectful girls. They’re good, and they help with Barrett. I love having them here. It’s nice having girls around.”

The girls’ activities provide a chance for the family to get together. They rarely miss a ball game or ballet performance.

Over the past two years, Heather has watched the girls grow and mature.

“I’m so proud of them,” she said. “They’re becoming ladies. And you can see, they don’t want to let us down — they don’t want to disappoint us.”

Brad and Heather both said now, looking back on their expanded family, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s different, but it’s extremely enjoyable,” Brad said. “We love having them. I couldn’t imagine life without them now.”