Tuesday, June 27, 2017

if you love them

I had Alex when I was only 17.  Actually, barely 17.  It is impossible for me to go back and really tell that story.  Time has flattened it.  Turned a bright-blue, twisting sea into still water.

I haven't seen any of those tv shows about teen moms but I can imagine the bullshit that goes into them.  The drama and the glamor and the diapers. 

My world wasn't like that. It was peaceful and safe.  Like sitting on the edge of a park at dawn. What I remember was the loneliness.  The love.  The silence. The flood of pink and tiny things into my life. 

The way she looked at me when I lay beside her on the floor and talked to her as if we were the only 2 people in the whole world- because to me we were.

I remember luging a car seat through the long halls at the U hospital ignoring with all my soul the judgmental glares of well meaning adults. 

Years later I had the chance to be one of those well meaning adults on a rotation with the Teen Mother and Child program.  It's hard not to glare at those young mothers- especial if you have been one of them.

The way I see it is the biggest struggle for a teen mom seems to be in the transition from being the star of your own Broadway play to being the director of a back alley preschool musical.

I was one of the lucky ones. I found the step out of the spotlight a huge relief. 

I didn't morn the lost of young adulthood. I was a kid who on her own never missed curfew.  A kid who got homesick while at school during the day.  A kid who spent hours locked in her room listening to old time radio shows like the Green Hornet and the Shadow.  

Yes, we partied and we skied.  We hiked and we drank beer in parking lots.  I was my older sister's trusty sidekick.  She was much wilder than I was but she was ride.

I really only dated a few boys.  And I only slept with one of them.  That's all it takes.  

I didn't morn the loss of seventeen.  I didn't morn the loss of a future either, at least not my future.  I agreed to give up any and everything to keep her. 

I was told I would be an outcast, that no man would marry a woman like me.  I would be alone the rest of my life.  I believed that and I accepted it. 

But her future I swore to protect.

When I chose to keep her I promised her that she would not pay for my mistakes.  

I was 17.  She was 2 pounds 7 ounces, 13 weeks premature.  Born at home while I was alone... because no one but me and her dad knew I was pregnant.

I raised her to live her life on her own terms.  I was willing to give up everything to see her safely through.

Today she sat across the table at the Dragon Diner over plates of steamy food telling me and her little sister about the 2 weeks she just spent in Europe- a trip she has been planning her whole life. 

I know her and her brothers think that Beach is the kid to live up to but each of them has proven their bravery out in the big world.  Beach has a lot to look up to. I am so proud of each of them!   

And this is how I became Alex's mother 3 times. 
I had her. I keep her. I let her go...& she came back. 

"If you love them, set them free..." 

1 comment:

  1. I don't know whether to smile or cry. Amazing story. I had Crystal at 19. But, my story is nothing close to yours. You are amazing. And so are your children.