Sometimes I wonder why I ever had children. Then I remember, oh, yeah, I was only 16 when I found out I was pregnant. I will never forget the day I told my parents the news. The look of disappointment on my fathers face was too much for me to bare. My mother was furious and started saying horribly mean things to me. She called me a whore (amongst other things). She instantly wanted me to have an abortion. She thought that this unplanned pregnancy at such a young age was a discrace to the family and that I should end it before anyone found out. She told me that I was an embarrassment to her and my father. Within the next 24 hours she even made the appointment to have the pregnancy ended.. Her reasoning was that I was only a minor and therefore she could dictate any healthcare choices for me, whether I wanted them or not. I hadn't planned the pregnancy. I didn't want a child. I was only 16.
I refused to follow through with her intentions. I couldn't imagine killing the child just because I was too stupid to comprehend the true meaning behind the saying "If you play, you pay." I left home the evening before the appointment and didn't come home until dinner the following night. My mother was mad at me but later agreed to respect my decision after I explained how the words "Thou shall not kill" kept ringing in my head and how strongly I felt the conviction in my heart that I simply will not murder this baby.
My mothers next mission was becoming insistent that I give the child up for adoption. She pointed out that many people can't have a child of their own and would love to adopt my baby. I refused. I didn't plan this pregnancy. I didn't want a child. But yet, I didn't want to make another life decision that I knew I would regret for eternity. She took it upon herself to make an appointment anyway. This time she didn't inform me about it ahead of time. When we arrived at the adoption agency I was completely surprised because she tricked me by asking me to go shopping with her instead. I remember being taken into an office and told that there are many wonderful couples that I could choose from to give my baby too. The lady behind the desk showed me pictures of them, told me all about their lives, and discussed the entire process with me. She was a very kind woman and was doing her darnedest to sell me on the idea. She almost had me convinced it was the best possible option until she mentioned that "at birth adoptions" meant that as soon as I gave birth, the baby would be given to the adoptive parents and I would not be able to hold him or ever see him again. She insisted that they have discovered that this method was actually easier on the birth mother in the long run.
I was only 16. I didn't plan this pregnancy. I didn't want a child. But yet, the thought of never holding my baby, this little piece of me, was the definite deciding factor. I politely told her I had no intentions of giving my baby up for adoption and I stood up and walked out of the office with my mother following angrily behind me.
Over the next few weeks my mother became accustomed to the fact that I was going to have a baby.
I hid the pregnancy very well at school. I was only a Junior in high school at the time. No one knew I was pregnant until my sixth month. I just woke up one morning and all of a sudden I couldn't hide that I was showing anymore. I was a tiny little thing that only weighed 98 lbs prior to being with child. By then end of my pregnancy my weight skyrocketed all the way up to 168 lbs. My mother took me shopping for some maternity clothes because nothing I owned fit. My feet were even swollen and I couldn't wear any of my shoes. I'll never forget the look on the sales clerk face when my mother asked her where the maternity department was. The clerk looked at me then at my mother then back at me. The look of disgust on her face. She said "For her?! She looks 12!" I guess it didn't help that I am only 4'11" and have always looked very young for my age. My mother grabbed my hand and replied to the clerk "Well, she's not." Then she marched away and found the preggo clothes on her own.
The type of reaction that the sales clerk gave us wasn't rare. Every where I went, that was the type of treatment I received. Even at school. I had gone from having many friends and the ability to mingle with many different "clicks" to only having a select few friends that would still talk to me and even fewer that would be seen in my company. It was 1992 and 16 and pregnant was not an every day occurrence in the TN school system. The whispers and the giggles and the false rumors of guys I never knew existed being just a knotch on my bedpost were rampant. I realized who my real friends were. Oddly enough, it wasn't the ones I had expected. I did my best to hold my head high and tried to keep my mouth shut. Constantly hearing the words "Slut", "Whore", "Tramp" as I walked down the halls made both of those things very hard to do. One afternoon I was called into the office and was told that my pregnancy was a disturbance to the other students. I was instructed to complete the school year out by being home schooled. At first I was offended, then I was relived and thankful.
During my last trimester my parents and I went on vacation in Florida. Big mistake. The ride down there was miserable. The air conditioning in my daddys blazer quit working half way there. Which is also why my parents from that point on started renting a car when they travel so they don't have to deal with costly repairs while away from home. It was a particularly hot summer with temperatures into the 100's. I remember sticking my head out the window like a dog trying to cool off as we drove down the interstate. It didn't help. With temperatures that hot the wind was hot too. It was like blowing a heater in my face instead. We stopped in a nearby town so we could get the air fixed. The story goes that the mechanic knew we were in a hurry to get it fixed and that we were traveling and when my dad asked him "How much will it cost?" The mechanic said "How much do you have?" My dad opened his wallet and the guy said "Yep, that'll do." While they were working on it, we went over to a nearby Denny's to get something to eat. When we walked in the hostess looked at me with a look of pure disgust on her face and asked if I "would you like a childs menu?" I'm not sure if my mothers maternal instinct kicked in, or if it was from the heat, or from spending all our spending money on the air conditioner but she went off on that woman. I don't remember the exact words she used but I do remember that she put that woman in her place and I felt proud of her for sticking up for me even though I knew that I didn't deserve to be stood up for.
I tell you all this only to go back to why I began this post in the first place. My son, who I fought to have and keep, who is now a 22 year old adult male child aggravates me to no extent. He got this hair-brained idea to move to California and start a career selling solar energy with a guy he met by playing video games with him online. He calls me and says he wants to come home. He's been there 3 months and he has been sleeping on other coworkers floors. He hasn't even had a bed. I ask him if he is sure he wants to come home because if he is, I'll fly out there and ride back with him so he won't have to make the cross country drive by himself. He assures me that yes, he is sure. I buy the plane ticket so I can fly there then ride back with him on following Tuesday (Tuesday is the cheapest day to fly). Saturday night he calls and tells me that he has changed his mind, he isn't coming home. He is going to stay and make it work there even after he had already quit his job. He was offered a job at another company and he wants to stay and see if he can make it work in California. He says he is afraid of being considered a quitter and wants to see this through.
He is stubborn. Like his momma.