Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

March 24, 1994

Dear Me,

Hold on. Funny way to start a letter, I know. In this case it has a number of meanings. Hold on, because in less than three hours your life is about to change forever. Hold on, because in less than three hours you are going to meet one of the most important people in your life. Hold on because in less than three hours you are going to be a mother, a parent, a woman? Hold on, because soon, really soon, he'll be here.

At first you are going to be very surprised when they say "It's a Boy!" You, at 16, want a girl. You, at 16, in all reality wanted someone to dress up. You, at 16, think this is going to be nothing. You, at 16, don't know that the minute you look at him, it never mattered what you "wanted" because you just fell in love for the first time. You have babysat hundreds of times. Babysat your brothers countless hours, babysat other people's children, you, therefore know it all.

No, you don't.

What you haven't done is babysat someone you love more than yourself. Not to say you don't, and still do, love your brothers. But this person, this little boy, is so much more than you even know. To this day, 15 years and 364 days later, you are still wondering at what and who he is.

The other day, Justine, the girl you will give birth to at 19, told you (at 32) that you can be proud and "talk about it out loud". At first, you didn't know what she meant. Then she said in health she learned that something like 90% of all teenaged mothers drop out of school. She learned that a majority of the children of teenaged mothers struggle at school, academically and socially. You however, will not quit school. No way, there is too much to prove, for one, and no way are you going to let that little boy down....

So when he's two weeks old, you are going to pack him and yourself up and drop him off at daycare and go to school. Two morning classes. Then you'll take the bus back downtown and pick him up and then catch another bus and go home. You'll do your homework. You'll parent. You'll overfeed the poor little guy until he spews. You, at 16, will assume crying must mean hungry. But he'll be okay and so will you.

He'll be more than okay! He will delight you day after day, make you laugh uncontrollably until you cry; make you cry out of sheer pride, make you weep out of fear of having disappointed him...

When he's two he will delight in nothing more than dancing, with his back facing you and his Nana, wiggling his butt in perfect rhythym to whatever music is playing. At two, he will decide, around the time his sister his born that his shirt, any shirt, "is too busy" and that's why he won't wear it. At six, you'll break his heart when you tell him you and his dad aren't going to be married anymore. At ten, he'll amaze you with the ease in which he picks up a guitar and plays it, seemingly effortlessly. At 15 you'll burst with pride watching him play football.

At every age, he'll make you laugh. He's funny. He's musical. He's smart.

So hold on. Hold on when, sometime during the day of March 25, 1994, you and he will be alone in the hospital room and you'll have a moment of sheer terror. You'll wonder what the hell you're doing and how you're going to do it. It's not going to be perfect. It's going to be better than perfect because you're going to grow together. When he's 15 he's going to hug you and still want to talk to you and make you laugh when you don't think you can.

So to you and to the little boy, set to come along at 1:02 a.m. March 25, 1994, hold on, you're going to make it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Anger is My Friend?

At one point in time a little birdie told me it had been suggested I am a very angry person. No shit. However, I was still somewhat offended. I think what offended was the suggestion I should not be angry. I still find this baffling. Don't get me wrong, every once in awhile I try to give myself a good pep talk about positive thought and attitude and how there really truly are people who are much worse off then I am. Then I find out that either my husband can't collect EI or the phone company is threatening to cut off service by the end of the month or my daycare is closing. It becomes difficult to find the up-side.

I'm generally a cynic. A pessimist. A realist. All of the above. As I've said before I'm okay with that, most of the time. This statement about my anger had me questioning who I am. I had some people tell me not to change. My husband was one of them. Apparently he finds rage charming. Although maybe not all of the time, heh heh. Co-workers, well the ones I call friends, say the same. My mother didn't suggest I shouldn't change but validated my anger. Lucky for her. Just kidding. Kind of.

I have been impatient since Day One. Bitterness has come with age. I don't mind anger but I dislike bitter. Bitter is not nice to be around. Bitter is not funny. Bitter is self-pity in disguise. And that is a fact. I've been doing a lot of feeling sorry for myself. I'm trying to quit. I'm trying to focus on positive things. I'm trying to maintain a semblance of control over my life and learning there are certain things I can't control. And that's the hard part. I crave control. In the past four months though, I've really had to face sometimes, life is out of my control.

Bottom line is, if you find me angry, I can't promise that will ever change. If you find me bitter, I'm working on it. If you find me at all interesting or entertaining, thank you. However, if you do not find me or this blog entertaining or interesting; if you take offense to the language used, you should probably stop reading now. I've been trying to curtail some of the language recently but it is a big part of the way I speak, sophisticated or not, so it will remain a part of this blog, as I see fit.

In the meantime: "chin up", "the sun will come out tomorrow", there's always a "silver lining" and all that jazz.

See, I'm getting better already...