Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My reasons

So I had to write a little piece for our newsletter at work, so I'm killing two birds with one stone and using it as a blog post too! Enjoy!

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

Marking a year

I will never forget November 6, 2008. Just like I will never forget July 16, 2008, or September 21, 2009. It is forever a part of my memory, and the scars forever part of my body.

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.