Putting the Happily Ever After in Teenage Pregnancy

giggles at graduationI don’t know what was going through her head eighteen years ago when she stood there in her cap and gown with her baby on her hip.  It’s sad because I really want to remember.  I know she was overwhelmed and confused and not understanding why so many people kept telling her how proud they were of all she had done.

I wish that she didn’t get so anxious over things that she couldn’t control and that she didn’t let her mind wander to places that it should never go.  Thankfully she never followed through on any of those random things she was thinking.

I wish she understood more when people told her what a great mother she was and the enormity of the words, “I could never do what you are doing, I don’t have it in me.” when they were spoken to her.  Being thousands of miles away from her family, her support system, her “normal” was something that she dealt with the best that she could, even when things looked their bleakest.

I remember the anger that she felt when someone would talk down about teenage mothers. She wrote letter after letter to different talk shows explaining that there are decent teenage mothers in the world.  Ones that don’t disrespect their parents.  Ones that take care of their babies.  Ones that the world wouldn’t call whores.  But she realized that the world doesn’t want to hear their stories.  There is nothing to sensationalize.  Sure there were struggles, but what life doesn’t have them.

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I look back at my life and I know that my daughter made me into the person that I am today.  She molded and formed me and made me want to be the best person I could be.  She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders, always encouraging me to go after my dreams.  She has made me change the way that I look at myself, because I never want her to have the same fleeting thoughts go through her head that plagued me for years.

There was a time that I felt guilty for deciding to keep my daughter.  Would her life have been better? But life isn’t like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book, I can’t go to page 73 and see that she would have been happier.  I have to know that I decided to do what was best for myself and my daughter.  I raised her to be the best person that she could be.  I know the world is a better place with her in it.

I struggle with talking about Teenage Pregnancy because I don’t want people to think that I endorsing it.  Or that they go to the other extreme and think that I am anti-adoption, because I am not. Some of most wonderful families I know are created through adoption.  But that isn’t part of my story, teenage pregnancy is.

Teenage pregnancy isn’t a death sentence.

Let me state that again and let it sink in.  Teenage pregnancy isn’t a death sentence.

I am sure that I didn’t understand the enormity of the choice I was making when everyone around me had their opinion on what my choice should be.  I knew that I would never be able to give my baby up and that I would do whatever I could to ensure that she had a better life than I had.  Between divorced parents, poverty and molestation; the bar wasn’t set very high.

My then boyfriend decided to join the Navy and asked for my hand in marriage.  My parents did all that they could to help me finish school.  Teachers, mentors, and friends reached out when I didn’t expect them to.  They encouraged and supported me and saw that spark of potential in me that I didn’t even knew I had.

Life hasn’t been easy, but honestly I don’t think I would have it any other way. I look back at my life and see how much I have grown and in ways I couldn’t even imagine.  My marriage has survived 18 years and we are happier now than we ever have been. We are living our happily ever after.

giggles graduatesI wish I could go back in time and tell her to keep her chin up because in just 18 years you will be standing here on this same track watching that baby you have on your hip walk through those same arches.  That the small babe  will be driven to achieve her dreams in her life because she is so much like her momma. That babe is  fierce, determined and never lets her situation define her.  She knows that no matter what happens, she always has a support system around her and that nothing is impossible, nothing.

Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.” – Marcus Aurelius

The Beauty of Five Percent

How many times have you declined the offer to apply for a Target card because having yet another card wasn’t worth the 5% discount The Beauty of 5% Savings at Targetthey were offering?

I am not sure how many times I declined, but it was at least seventeen years worth, because I knew that the LAST thing I needed was a ticket to shop at my favorite store, even if I didn’t exactly have the extra cash handy.

I know, I know….I should have some responsibility when it comes to what I spend….but really if I am going to be honest, I am sure that I would foul it up somehow.  Trust me.

On what seemed like the 50th time I was in Target one week, {I am sure it wasn’t but I am going for dramatics people} I was asked that all too familiar question about applying and saving 5% on my purchases everyday at Target.  And let’s not forget about the free shipping that I would be receiving when I ordered from Target.com.  {to be clear, I have never ordered anything from Target.com}  I declined, as always…and with my regular routine….I tossed the husband under the bus.

“Oh how I would love a Red Card, but I am pretty sure that my husband would kill me,” I told the cashier as I chuckled.

She looked at me and instead of the usual ‘But you will save FIVE percent’ or ‘FREE shipping’ {you know at a website that I only window shop at} and said, “You do realize that you can link your debit card up to a Red Card and still save the 5% while it comes out of your checking account.”

Why no nice Target lady I did not, in fact, know about that I could have saved an amount of money that I don’t even want to think about because it would probably make my stomach hurt.  So, to make up for crazy amount of money that I could have saved over the course of the last 17 years that I have been shopping at Target, I now share this story with you.

You CAN save 5% on your purchases at Target and get FREE shipping on all of your online purchases with a Target Debit Card.  Just take your ID and a blank check into your nearest Target and they will set it all up.  Just remember what you picked for your PIN number so when it prompts you for your PIN and you put in another PIN you won’t get flustered with the poor checkout guy that was just helping from seasonal because the registers were backed up and tell him that you never picked any numbers to go with your account and what kind of scam are they trying to pull all while he tells you  he is just helping out from the back of the store.

You’re Welcome.

Disclosure: I’m pretty sure that Target doesn’t have a clue as to who I am, because even with the 17 years of shopping there I am probably just a blip on their radar.  I was not compensated for this post, you know, aside from the $23 I have saved so far this year with my beloved magical card.  Although it might be Target’s fault that when I talk about my magical card I sometimes ask the person that I am speaking to, “What’s in your wallet?” in a crazy western voice and I might go on a tangent about how you can’t buy real salsa in New York City….but they probably aren’t at fault and I just watched too much television in the 90’s.  So go forth, be happy, and enjoy the of saving 5%!

They Do Work Together

Picture a late night with one of your really good friends.  Laptops are open, the creative juices are flowing, the kids are in bed {you know aside from the teenagers that are at after-prom}….in short a perfect blogging evening.

I break open my Macbook Pro only to find that it won’t connect to the internet.  No biggie, the poor thing is nearly nine years old, and my dear friend has a back up computer.  So instead of losing my ever loving mind trying to get the Macbook working, she gives me her work laptop to use.

The track pad is jumpy and it won’t see photos that I need for some posts.  In short it is making me want to chuck it out the window.  But, alas, the windows are closed and it’s not my computer.  I try and I try some more to no avail….this stupid computer is sucking the life out of me.  So much so that when my friend posts on Facebook about all of the late night writing we will be getting done, I proclaim the computers sitting in front of me to be wiener heads.  That’s right…wiener heads.

Then I look up and that’s when I realized that these computers are conspiring against me to keep me from updating my blog.  Yes, that’s right I totally just threw a couple of computers under the figurative bus because sadly Nichole lives out in the country and not too many buses pass by her front door and I am pretty sure that the Amish would just drive their buggy around it while cursing the English.

So one Mac and one PC {a Dell to be exact} are talking to each other and conspiring against me…..it’s either that or well, I just don’t want to think of the alternative.