Now what? Now what was I supposed to do with this beautiful baby? Where they really just going to give her to me, and let me leave? What if I admitted that I had no idea what to do next? Those outdated movies they made me watch didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. All of the insecurities in the world, didn’t matter. The doubts, the fear, none of it mattered. She was mine, and I was hers. Together we were let loose into the world.
Thank god we started our journey in a small shared bedroom at my parents house. They were so good about finding the line between helping, and letting me learn on my own. The first few months are fuzzy. I know that I was a 20 year old mom sharing a Winnie the Pooh themed room with her daughter. She was such a good baby. So resilient and flexible. Which was going to be so important over the next couple of years as I found myself.
During my pregnancy and early motherhood I went through so many stages. I went through the “burn all old pictures of me being irresponsible” phase. Seriously, I wanted no proof of the life style that I once lived. I was a mother now. Man I wish I hadn’t done that. I’d love nothing more than to flip through those pictures and admire how far I’ve come.
Then there was the “don’t worry Doc, I don’t plan on ever having sex again” stage. I remember him looking at me and explaining that he knows I feel that way right now, but being proactive about birth control was very important. I remember being so sure that I was going to be a single mother for my entire life. I had zero interest in men. My body was foreign. I didn’t recognize it, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to show it to anyone else. I hadn’t had sex in the last 6 months and survived just fine. I gave in and took the script.
Then came the “I’m actually human again” stage. It took some time, but I slowly became human again. So many months surviving with the only goal being, having a healthy baby. My stomach started to flatten out. My boobs were actually better than they had ever been. I started to feel like a woman again, not just a mom. This stage was a juggling act to say the least. I had to find the right mix of being a young mom and being a young woman. I figured it out with a few bumps and bruises. Now I know why that damn doctor was so adamant about the pill.
Living at home was great at first. It was like adulting but with a safety net. I didn’t do all of her feedings. I didn’t change all of her diapers. My parents were a huge help. But it was time for us to leave the nest. I remember our first apartment so vividly. It was a small one bedroom right in Caledonia. Because I hadn’t worked while I was pregnant, I qualified to live there. The rent was based on my income. We started our independent journey, still sharing a room, but having freedom. This little apartment furnished with all hand me downs, is where I learned empathy and compassion. When you struggle you never forget where you came from.
That first year we both grew. We both learned to walk, sort of speak. There were a lot of ramen noodles consumed, and the struggle was real, but I wouldn’t change those days for anything. Motherhood when you’re young is different. My mentality with her, was different. She was my sidekick. My little buddy. It was her and I against the world. I learned what sacrifice and unconditional love was from her.
Here we are 22 years later. I have an adult child. A child that has become a woman. Holy shit I have a child that is a woman. She is beautiful. A bit stubborn like her mom. Her beliefs and values can not be silenced, it’s not in her blood. She loves so deeply, yet has little tolerance for bull shit. She is finding her way in this world and living in the moment. Not marching robotically to the “social norm” but instead living her best life and becoming the force that she was destined to be. I see so much of me in her yet, she is smarter and stronger than I was.
She is one of my greatest accomplishments. My solo performance, with a standing ovation. I can’t help but look at her and be in complete awe. We not only made it, we made it learning so many valuable lessons. Sacrifice, humility, struggle, gratitude, faith, pride and success. Happy 22nd birthday my beautiful daughter.
Leave a Reply