The Direct Correlation

In life, there are events that correlate in an often horrible but hilarious way. For instance, take a man who opposes helmet laws for motorcyclists. In order to promote his cause, said man goes out on his bike without a helmet. Said man gets in an accident where his helmet-less head gets smashed and dies. The lack of helmet when his dumb head hit the ground correlates directly with his death. In turn, we laugh at the stupidity of said man. Well, maybe most people won’t laugh but I definitely did. This argument can also be proven by an intelligent person rowing his boat into the ocean during a hurricane, resulting in his boat sinking and no one being able to help him. That said man died as well.

Then there are situations when people make up these correlations in their often bigoted or presumptuous minds. Like Obama tanked our economy to ruin us from the inside in a Muslim plot to take down America. This says that Obama because of his name and race that he is a Muslim, and all Muslims naturally want to take down America. Sure this is an extreme situation but it helps prove my point and fill 189 words before I get to the main story.

At the beginning of the week, I had to get an ultrasound done as part of my testing to decide when to induce the labor. I get to the waiting room, and I pull out my phone to put it on silent and read the news. This lovely elderly gentleman decided to inform me that the sign clearly states “no cell phone use” and that I should be respectful and turn off my phone. I looked up and decided I wasn’t in the mood to say a word back so I turned off my phone to appease the man and put it back in my purse. Then, the presumptuous correlations occurred. “What do I expect? If people are sinful enough to have children out-of-wedlock and flaunt it, of course they wouldn’t know how to read a sign and turn off their cell phone. These kids are growing up to be disrespectful sinners and it’s a result of the godless and liberal society we’ve allowed to occur here. These kids need to learn to read classics and not cell phones or vampire series.”

He didn’t say it to me, though I’m not dumb enough to think that this wasn’t directly aimed at me. Of course his assumptions are wrong on 2 levels: I am married, not that there’s anything wrong with children out-of-wedlock as long as they are loved and cared for; and I graduated college with a B.A. in English, with a focus on literature. All that aside, this man felt that without knowing me that he could tell me all about my life and take two of his pet peeves he might have and take it out on me. Correlations are fine, when you start reaching negative correlations based on discriminatory beliefs. Next time, that old man will get my full wrath, but I did learn that I should probably be more aware of wearing my wedding band “necklace”.

And One Day It Hits You

I worked a lot the first few years of my first son’s life. Some days I would get to work at 5 a.m. and work pretty much straight through until 9 p.m. Then the next day I would start again. Some days were worse; working until early morning hours only to come in a few hours later to start my next day. I did it because nothing in life is worth anything if you don’t have to work hard for it. I did it because I needed to, and even then I still needed state help. And even then, the help wasn’t enough. Kids cost money and a lot of it. I didn’t want to miss out on my son’s early life or first words or first steps… but I didn’t want him to grow up thinking that everything was handed to people. When you’re a parent, it becomes clear very quickly that every action they see from you they copy. Every little thing you do makes an impression on them. I believe you have to work hard in life at whatever you do.

At some point, I looked around at the situation we were in and realized I’m not someone who likes to settle for anything. I looked at my son and realized that I didn’t want him growing up in that place and thinking it was acceptable to settle. Then, with the help of my now husband, I realized I needed something more than the job I had. He took my belief system of not settling and told me to go to school. He was right. Plus, I needed to show my son that college was important. I needed to show him if I went to school and succeeded at parenting him, that he should be able to handle it. I did it, and I worked my butt off in school to graduate if for no other reason than to prove that I could. His pride in me was worth it all. Even more, I taught him a lesson. Just because you think you need to settle in life, doesn’t mean you should. There’s always something better you can aim for and do if you set your mind to it. There’s nothing in this world he can’t do if he wants it enough.

I hope he learns these important lessons. It’s easy to settle for how you think your situation makes you. Nothing that comes easy is worth it though. I had many moments where I cried and didn’t want to go back to school because I didn’t think I could be successful and maybe I should go back to a job that I excelled at whether or not I even liked it. Then I think, as much as I think we as parents teach our children a lesson, I think our children teach us and motivate us the most. You watch them struggle with their reading and they don’t give up, and you think “if he doesn’t quit, why do I think I can get away with it.” It’s important that as a parent, any parent, that you make sure to step up. Your children need you do show them just because you’re young/single/unemployed/poor that you can do things and you can overcome anything in your way. If you show them it’s easier to give up and settle, you’re doing both of you a great disservice. I think this is especially true when you’re a teenager, because like I felt like when I was 19, I was too young to give up now. Remember that your influence as a parent is the biggest influence to your kids. It’s what they start of learning from, and it can impact the rest of their life.

And I Thought A Turkey Was What Everyone Wanted for Thanksgiving

It’s Friday again, and this week I decided to skip ahead and embarrass myself with the story of how the 18-year-old me told my family they were going to have another grandchild.

I had every intention of inviting my mother out to eat at the hotel I worked at to tell her. At first, I just got too busy taking every shift my bosses would let me take in every part of the hotel to make money that I knew I’d need for my bundle of joy. Then it was getting too late and I figured by avoiding it this long, I would’ve made the situation worse for us. Not only would I have shamed them from getting in that position to begin with, I hid it from them for so long. I knew I had to do it, but we were all young and stupid once.

Originally my first son’s due date was on Christmas Day. Soon they realized he was a month older than they thought and gave him the due date of November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving that year. In my gut, and I told everyone, that my son was destined to be born on a holiday. I knew he’d be that “look at me I’m here” personality. (I’d like to say, 10 years later he still is that personality.) I didn’t think women had instincts that were right about that, so I agreed to Thanksgiving dinner with my family and since my huge stomach couldn’t be hid at that point, I realized I could just say “don’t hate me, it’s Thanksgiving” and be done with it. Of course, that’s never how things work out.

At 4am Thanksgiving morning, contractions came 5 minutes apart for 2 hrs. After being examined I wasn’t ready and I just walked around, running up and down stairs before realizing I had to make the call. Shortly after something I won’t mention happened, but a sign you’re about to pop a kid out, I called my parents and while the conversation does sound like something out of a sitcom, I assure you it’s 100% true. Everyone still laughs at me for it, but I’m me.

“Mom, I’m pregnant, I won’t make it to dinner.”

“Well we knew this would happen, just come by and we’ll talk about it.”

“No, mom…. I can’t, I need to go to the hospital. He’s coming.” I informed her where and went off to face the culmination of these last 40 weeks happen.

It wasn’t the blow out I expected. I realized I was stupid in not just saying something sooner, and my mother held my hand when my first-born son came into the world. Aside from my brother considering killing my son’s father, nothing eventful happened. 1  hour after the phone call, there was a new child in the world unaware of anything that happened before that point in time. Thankfully, we all realized that nothing before that really mattered. Everyone was happy, and while my family still never let’s me forget my stupidity, I think they let it slide now that my son is running around amusing them. Plus, I did tell them pretty much as soon as I found out I was expecting again. Maybe that gave me brownie points.

I don’t regret it. He made me learn a lot even before he could speak. I learned that I wasn’t the settling sort, and did everything I could to make him proud. I didn’t want him growing up in a studio apartment eating rice and whatever food I could get from the state. I wanted him to be proud. Next week, my epiphany and how my life changed from there.

Some Things Always Stick With You

My last post took me back about 10 years ago, upon discovering I was about to become a statistic or rather a few statistics. As I mentioned last time, I don’t like to be labelled. But here I was 18 staring at a test staring back at me with the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to avoid any labels anymore.  To this day, I’m not sure if it was the label or the experience that terrified me the most though I’m pretty sure it was the label. I was fortunate that I had a stable enough job even as low paying as it was and was well liked, so they didn’t mind letting me work all the overtime I had the energy for both before my son and after.

What amazed me was that I went to look for books and articles in parenting magazines for something I could relate to, and I found nothing. What’s worse than thinking you’re alone, is realizing that you have nothing to prove you wrong. Logically, I knew even from school that I wasn’t the only teenager who ended up in this place of pending motherhood. I read magazine after magazine hoping to read an article about someone my age or even someone alone in the process to write something I could relate to. Instead, I found articles about how to include your partner or how adulthood changes when you become a parent. What about me? What about how much more difficult it is to be a teenager and become a parent, whether you’re 15 or 18 like I was. Or at least something that didn’t make me feel like I was less than every other parent out there wanting to do what’s best for their child. Even now all I really see is that you get a TV show about being a pregnant teen and realize that the “role models” are terrible for other teens that find themselves in that mess, and worse that it sets a bad example for those teens who step up and make something out of their situation. Why can’t they show that not all teen moms are train wrecks waiting to happen (or currently is). Some of us work our butts off to do the best we can and go to college and try to succeed in life. This applies to single mothers, they shouldn’t feel like they need to give up on their life and work minimum wage or not at all.

Even in today’s age, I think single and teen mothers are seen in a negative light. Prominence of them doesn’t mean acceptance. Someday I can hope that just because the situations aren’t ideal, doesn’t mean we should ignore it like it doesn’t exist. These parents need just as much relatable information as every other parent does without the fear of judgement about the situation they are in. They get enough judgement from people in the real world, they don’t need it from so-called parenting experts. I hope someday someone with the means to offer such a publication should reach out. I’m all for prevention, but sometimes even all the prevention in the world, you need to accept things do happen.