I was born on the night of my mothers’ high-school graduation. Instead of walking across the stage to get her diploma, she spent it in labor. Oh, and yes, you read that right I said high-school. I am the product of a seventeen year old girl and a fifteen year old boy who fell in love, and as my momma tells me, I never forget it.
To every person that has ever passed my father and I walking hand in hand, I want you to know that I see the side eye glances. To the mother of a friend I had in Kindergarten, I remember you telling him that, “maybe he should take a parenting class.” To the math teacher I had in eighth grade that said, “OH! So you’re one of those mistake babies!” I remember you too. To everyone whose jaws I pick up off of the floor after telling them how old my parents are..and then how old I am, I’m glad you can do simple math!
As for me? I will NEVER wish my life to be any different. You see, I get to live a full life with not just my mother and father, but my grandparents as well. I get to joke with my father about checking into a nursing home together because when he’s 85, I’m going to be 70! I get to genuinely say that my mother is my best friend. I never went through the angsty, hate my parents phase, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. Despite the concerns of more, “conventional” parents, I never went without. If I wanted to do it, my mother made it happen. Survival skills? Dad had that covered. Even though my parents didn’t stay together, they understood that what was most important was me. They worked together to make sure I was never without love, care, food, clothes. Was it always easy? I can imagine not, but they never let me see it. I owe a lot of my strength to them. I watched them grow into incredible young adults, even if I wasn’t aware of what that meant at the time. Looking back now, at twenty-three, I get it.
I think a lot about families who may not have had the same sort of support that my parents have and maybe have to make a different decision. I asked my Grandma the other day if they ever suggested to my mother those options and she said to me; “No way! I looked at your mother and said, We’re going to do this. All of us, together.”
It’s hard for me not to get emotional when I think about my family because I truly did get a great one. The hardships they’ve had to overcome has paved the way for me to be who I am today. My mother is my best friend, my hero, my secret keeper, my rock, the Lorelei to my Rory, everything I aspire to be as a woman. My father is also my best friend and my hero, but he is also my NO BS Assessment giver and the Atticus to my Scout.
They beat the stereotype. To those who still give us pitying looks, stop. My parents are still thriving and accomplishing their goals–I didn’t ruin their life. I just rerouted it and they wouldn’t change it to the world.
Mom and Dad? I am forever grateful. Thank you.