Thursday, September 18, 2008

Crazy Ride

Well, we discovered the reason for the neighbor's dogs chasing the horses and barking at 3 am the other night. Their beautiful daughter, 16 years old, was in the hospital in labor with her son. Yes, I knew she was pregnant. Mother and child are doing well, home now, grandparents are happy, everyone has had a bit of sleep.

This brings back some memories for me. See, my beautiful daughter Sara was born when I was 17. I remember being the only pregnant girl in my high school. I remember thinking this couldn't be that difficult. Yes, I was that naive. I was on the debate team (boy did that raise some eyebrows in Kansas!), I graduated and got my diploma. I did not go to prom, because diapers were fricking expensive. I was so blessed to be loved and supported by my family. And my awesome boyfriend, Brad, stuck by me 100%. Yes, the same Brad that pulled my smelly dog out of the septic tank Sunday. We made it. 23 years this Sept 28th we've been together.

It was difficult. It's still difficult. Sara is 21 now, and I can't believe we all survived this crazy ride. And we're still on the ride. I'm getting the sneaking suspicion this ride never ends.

Having a child while you are a teenager sucks. I mean, the baby is wonderful. I wouldn't trade Sara for anything in the world. But not being able to do the things other kids my age were doing sucked. No college, no travel, no parties (although, considering how many teenagers die from drug and alcohol overdoses, car accidents, or just general inebriated stupidity, I'm not sure I missed much there). My life revolved around that little person. And you know what? My life still revolves around her. She's in college, but still living at home. And I'm okay with that, but for the love of heaven, I still lay awake waiting for her to come home. And I still have to remind her to pick up her shoes, socks, books, etc etc etc.

My heart goes out to my neighbor's daughter. I know exactly how she's feeling right now. She's excited, overjoyed, and scared out of her freaking mind. She has the support of her family. But the father?? Can't be bothered. Yes, I have hugged my husband repeatedly. I got lucky, and I know it. And I've been hugging that teenager still hiding in me, wondering if her life will ever be the same again. No, it's never been the same. It's been better, an exciting ride that takes my breath away with joy, terror, frustration, silliness, and pride. I'm glad I got on the ride, I just wish I'd waited in line a little longer.

So for any teenagers out there thinking pregnancy won't happen to you? Yes, it sure as hell will. And to the parents who think their child isn't out having sex (unprotected or otherwise)? Talk to your kids. Be honest, even thought it's embarrassing. Sara and I have always had an open dialogue about sex and protecting herself. I've offered to buy condoms, drive her to the clinic to get on the pill, whatever she wants. Because let's face it, the worst thing that can happen to a kid having sex? Not getting pregnant, or getting someone pregnant. The worst thing that can happen to your child is contracting an incurable disease. Dying, because their hormones had them acting like bunnies. Take it from a teenage mother who was too embarrassed to talk to her mom, and who's mom was too embarrassed (and thinking her daughter wouldn't have sex) to talk to her. I got so lucky, healthy baby, amazing husband. But too many kids didn't get that lucky, and won't. All because society thinks if we just bury our heads in the sand, the problem won't happen, or will just go away. I'm living proof, and so is my neighbor's daughter, that it just keeps happening.

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