Boyfriend and I are just a couple of carefree teenagers, comfortable with each other, but truly still trying to impress each other. Flirting, holding hands, all dolled up for the prom! What he doesn’t know is that I still haven’t gotten my period. And, yes, there’s reason to be concerned. But I am naive enough to think it will come any day now.
Senior Prom: Spring of 2005
We are the teenage parents. Labeled. Known as that. We have our five month old daughter with us, at the Grand March.
In a small town school there are plenty of whispers throughout the gymnasium.
“They have a baby?”
“But, isn’t she the one that goes to church?”
“How could they? How could their parents allow that?”
Even if I don’t hear it all, I see the stares. The disbelief. The disappointment.
College Visit: Fall of 2005
Not for me. Just to visit my boyfriend. Wow, this campus is nice. It must be pretty cool to live on your own. In a dorm. Surrounded by friends. Tell me all about your classes. I never thought I would have to miss out on this experience. I planned on being here too, with all of you. Torn between loving being a mom and longing to be just a college freshman.
Pregnant, Again: Fall of 2006
Whoa, what?? We JUST got married. This baby had to have been…oh..yep. A honeymoon baby. But I had birth control. People don’t think we know what that is. I’m not even 20 yet. And, he’s still in college. How are we going to do this?
Time for School: 2008
We can do this! She is so excited to do something new and with other kids her age too! Here we go. Hubs and I are more nervous than she is. We know we will always be the youngest parents in her class. But, that doesn’t make it any less awkward. Put on a brave face. She is excited. Follow her lead and make new friends.
What I’ve Learned
I have been the youngest mom in the crowd for so many years. My oldest daughters love to answer the question, “Wait, your mom is HOW old?!” And they still razz me about how ancient they think I am. But the truth is, I’ll always be a young mom in their circle of friends.
I have realized over the years that confidence and humility have to be my two best friends.
I have learned to be confident enough to ignore those who turned their nose up at our story and to trust my instincts, yet still be humble enough to ask for advice. And, to listen when others give it.
A friend recently told me I was a “trusted voice” among moms and that moved me to tears. I never, ever thought I would be that person.
I spent my early twenties doing what everyone else was doing- figuring out what they wanted to do with their lives. But I was doing it with the weight of already being a wife and mother of two.
How could I be a good mother when I still needed mine so much? But the thing about time is that it gives you experience, confidence, and lessons to share with others.
This shift from “young and inexperienced” to “still young but wise” is not one that came without tears, without seeking wisdom from others, without finding a mommy-mentor. I am thankful for those who have held me up in moments of weakness, and those who celebrated and encouraged each victory.