Tuesday, November 24, 2009
As I sit here at my desk, I type with one hand. Not because I like to make things more difficult than they should be, or because I lost a hand in some gallant effort to save a small family of kittens from a large dog on the attack. No, nothing like that. I sit here and type with one hand because I am holding a sleeping infant. Because I couldn’t find a babysitter.
Looking back on my first two months of parenthood, I can honestly say it hasn’t been that bad. But I have to add, I haven’t been on my own. I’ve had two weeks of assistance from my mother-in-law, and plenty of afternoon assistance from my parents. My husband and I took turns with the late-night feedings until last week, but with his recent move to third shift, Mommy is left all alone. And I’m exhausted and can’t really see any relief in sight. And it has finally dawned on me. How do people do this alone? More specifically, how do teens do it?
Each week, I teach a new group of students. And each week, I am faced with the reality that some of these kids are more experienced parents than I am. In fact, I’ve been given parenting advice from high school freshmen. I was 10 when most of these kids were born, and they are giving me advice on child rearing. Kids raising kids. That is our reality.
In a perfect world, I would be unemployed. Not because I would be a millionaire and not have to work, but because my profession would no longer be needed. Teenagers would understand the consequences of sex outside the commitment of a faithful marriage. Teen girls would hold on to their childhood instead of holding onto an empty promise of “love.” But this is our reality.
Every day, 2,000 girls get pregnant. Every day, 2,000 teen girls have to grow up fast. Faster than they should have. And that is why I do what I do.
I’m certainly not getting rich doing what I am doing. At least not money wise. But each time I stand in front of a group of students, I hope I make a difference. I hope that the teens realize that sex can be great, in the proper context.
When you are married, and know without a doubt that that person will stick by you, the surprise of a pregnancy is met with anxious joy rather than fearful remorse. Sex is an intensely bonding experience, regardless of the context, or the age of the participants. That is our reality.
Parenthood is an amazing experience, and it seems I am quickly forgetting my married life as it was before. Of many things, I am uncertain, like how I can function on repeated nights of little sleep. But one thing I know for sure is that I couldn’t do this as a teen, nor would I wish that reality upon anyone.
I do what I do not to get make large sum of money, though the feeling that comes with reaching a teen is priceless. I do what I because I see our youth hurting as they believe the lies that sex is no big deal. I do what I do because I have walked the halls of high school and know the pressure that is dealt by our media-frenzied culture. I do what I do because someone took the time to share the same truths with me years ago, and that has made all the difference.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I can remember what I was wearing that day. Actually, it was the same jeans I have on today, and a shirt I bought from Wal-Mart the day before for three bucks. And I don't think I've had it on since.
I can remember what I had for lunch that day. It took me a long time to be able to eat it again.
But I can also remember the event. And it replays in my mind in slow motion. Almost every day. Almost every time I close my eyes. And, just in case I were to forget, there is a blood stain on my front door.
November 8, 2008 started out like any other day. Work, then lunch break. That's where things took a drastic turn. Sitting down to eat lunch, a Stouffer's Five Cheese Lasagna, my dog was going crazy to get outside. I knew Paul had just let him out, but I was frustrated. He was barking. And annoying me.
So I let him out. And the vision keeps replaying.
I let him out, and he ran right into the road. I can remember seeing the truck and thinking, "Wow, they are going really fast." But I let him out. As I sit here at my desk, over a year later, I am fighting back the tears as I relive that moment. I let him out.
I know Boone was just a dog. But he was my dog, and I miss him every day. I miss the ridiculous amount of dog hair that would pile on my floor. I miss his constant barking when he felt he wasn't getting enough attention. I miss the way he let Rascal, a fourth of his size, bully him.
And now, even a year later, I think about it each and every day. The event is forever emblazoned in my mind. I let him out.
One day, I will have to explain to Ansley why my ring finger looks so strange, and why it tingles all the time and doesn't seem to move as easily as the rest of my fingers. But, I hope that explanation doesn't come because she experiences a loss in the same way. Go ahead, mock me. But it was traumatic for me. And I promise you. The same vision replaying over and over does not make it any easier.
And now, as everyone is thinking I get a little too attached to "just a dog," I leave you with a picture of that dog. Yes, he was just a dog, but he was my dog. And I let him out.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Not my song. Ansley's song. Though, quite honestly, there haven't been too many cries. Gurgles, yes. Currently actually.
It has been a long ride. I can admit that I remember taking that test in February. I remember anxiously waiting to see if that second line to appear. Ok, I won't lie. Apparently, you can be "really" pregnant. Cause the two minutes you are supposed to wait for the pregnancy test results was really only about two seconds. Yup, I was "really" pregnant.
The double lines were met with a "That's awesome!" from my hubby, and a "Goodness gracious, how did this happen?" Ok, done laughing? Of course I know how it happened. Are you kidding me? I'm an abstinence educator. I teach kids about sex. What I meant was, "Why did this happen? And why now?"
You see, I had only been at this job for six weeks. Surprise! I'm pregnant! I'll need time off in nine months. The other issue: it had only been seven months since I had a miscarriage. I would not wish that on anyone. Ever. Period. But, with another pregnancy came the risk of another miscarriage.
But, I made it. I made it to this day, October 27. And, I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl. When I should have been at a 40 week check-up for me, I was at an appointment for Ansley. Which, fyi, not fun watching your kid squall from a shot. I don't suggest it. Keep the head turned.
Her arrival proved one thing to me. She certainly takes after her father. I have enough trouble being on time. She makes her daddy proud. She was early.
So, we celebrate. We celebrate her arrival, no matter the date. We will celebrate every day, because every day is a gift, and mine was not belated.
Happy Due Date to us!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The blanket she is on is actually one of her Daddy's baby blankets.
My child makes the cutest faces!
Though this is what we are growing more accustomed to. "No more pictures!"
All in all, it was a success, and I can't wait to get even more!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Now, I never expected to return to work just four weeks after pushing out a baby. In fact, I don't think I completely expected to be able to move four weeks after having a baby. In the words of Prissy, "But Miss Scarlet, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies!"
But, I did it. Yesterday morning, I got up, got ready for work, and kissed my husband my four week old baby goodbye. And it was not good. But, I did it.
Now don't get me wrong. I love my job and I love my office. But I've discovered I love my baby much more than that. I love my husband, but it took me months to realize it, and I am still learning what it exactly looks like. But this new love seemed to come naturally. I didn't have to learn.
Don't let me fool you. I don't have it figured out. Not in the slightest. I still seem to get peed on when I change a diaper. I've even been pooped on a few times. And, just the other day, I knocked her noggin on the door frame. It was the ever so slight bump, but totally convinced me that I indeed had no clue what I was doing.
But I didn't have to learn how to love her. I didn't have to learn how to gaze at her. I didn't have to learn to enjoy each little hiccup, or the smallest sneeze. I didn't have to learn that each cry will break my heart, even if it's just because the baby wipes are cold.
But I did have to learn how to leave. And like learning to love my husband, it's something that I expect to keep learning everyday.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Her arrival was much of a shock, as she chose to enter the world 5 weeks early. That's right. Five weeks of baby kicks and hiccups that mommy missed. Her promptness meant no mommy-baby bonding until that afternoon. And even then, the umbilical cord that connected baby to mommy had been replaced with connections to machines and monitors. No hugs and kisses, just hand-holding and diaper changing.
But we endured those 5 days. We endured the nights apart, and the hour drive. And now we are together. Now, mommy and daddy laugh at the funny baby sounds. We take turns on diaper duty, and though daddy can't offer the same milky goodness that mommy can, he sure can feed our little trooper in bottle form. And he does. And we love it.
And that's our story. It's been an adventure, and it is sure to be much more of one. I'm sure there will be plenty of tears and hours of laughter. As the years go on, there will be ::gasp:: spankings and sleepovers, dolls and dresses, boys and books, and if daddy has his way, plenty of soccer playing and baseball watching, though Little Girl doesn't seem too interested yet.
And we're both wrapped around a tiny finger.
So continues our fairytale.