Shortly before I turned 21 years old, I had my EldestDaughter. I was scared, being a first-time, and a single, mom. She was this tiny, perfect thing, and she was totally dependent on me for everything. I fell in love with her before she was ever born, and still feel the same to this day.
And in 2 days’ time, she will be 20 years old. Sunday is her birthday.
To go back, I have to remember a dark time of my life, and how she brought me out of it. Because, this child- literally – saved my life.
I’ve spoken before about my summer when I went from 19 to 20 myself. I was pretty out of control that summer, and didn’t appreciate most of what I had. I threw a lot of my life away, basically, on self-destructive behavior. When my parents told me my choices were either the armed services, or a job, I started scanning the paper; and found an ad for “Nannys Wanted”. There was a company looking for girls from the midwest, to go to families across the country to nanny for them. I went for an interview, and was allowed to start taking phone calls from families. I chose one in New Jersey, and ran.
I was running from my life, from my past, from my choices and my mistakes.
When I landed in New Jersey, I found that it was not just another state. It was a whole other culture, rather like landing on Mars. And this Earth girl didn’t know how to cope. I was still massively depressed from everything that I’d run from, and was weepy and emotional whenever I had a minute alone. Little did I know that I had help from another source.
First, I started getting massively tired. I had trouble staying awake when the family was out of the house in the mornings. Then I started getting nauseous over things that had never bothered me before. And, finally, I realized that I had to be pregnant. Obviously, the father was not involved, and when I went to the local planned parenthood clinic, I was told that I had choices, and did I want to talk about abortion or adoption? There was no way I could choose abortion. And the family that I lived with had adopted both of their children, and were very gung ho about me choosing the adoption option for myself.
But it was never an option for me. This was my child, and I decided immediately that I was going home, to raise this baby on my own. Whether I had any help or not, I was going to do this.
When my ElderDaughter came along, and needed me, and only me, so badly, I couldn’t let her down. I had to finally step up, and be an adult. She taught me what it meant to be there for the sake of others, not just for yourself. And that, no matter what, someone, will always care whether you live or die. I stopped wanting to destroy myself the day she was born. And I started wanting to live, again, even if it was solely for the sake of this small, perfect, person. She thought I was worth something, and I was her whole world. I couldn’t possibly take that from her.
The reasons for choosing life change, over time. But, she was the one that turned the tide for me from self-destruct, to re-construct.
She was my first. And 20 years later, she is still, my baby girl. Many of you may have already seen this video, I’ve posted it before. I’m proud of the girl shown in this short movie, and re-post it as often as I can. I made this for her graduation from high school, and embarass her with it regularly on Facebook. And it still makes me cry sometimes, when I watch it. In the video below, the first picture? Is the face that changed my whole world. Love you, darlin’.