Lately I’ve had a lot of time for thinking. Part of it is this lingering pneumonia that has managed to knock me out for multiple weeks now. Part of it is the waiting game that occurs before the baby comes. I’ve thought some about my future, about where I go from this point of finishing my masters program and becoming a new dad. Mostly though I’ve been reflecting on my past, which is something I never do.
I am about to take this huge step into parenthood. It scares the hell out of me honestly. I think of all the things that I feel completely and totally unprepared for. How I feel inadequate to make this step. Then I think about my mother, and how amazing she must really be.
When I was born she was only 21. I am going to be honest; I had absolutely nothing together at 21. I was a shy little kid that had no clue where I fit in this world. I am not even sure I could tie my own shoes at that point. My mother had a son and actually managed to keep him alive, which in itself is astounding.
She certainly was not the first person to raise a kid at 21, there have been who raised one even younger. She did the majority of my raising on her own. If outcome is any indication of quality then I would say she has done fairly well. I have not been hooked on drugs, robbed anyone, shot anyone, or attempted to murder anyone, which is more than I can say for others I grew up around.
While I was in Jr. High, which is never an easy time for a parent, my father left. My mom at the time was working in a dental office splitting time between office administrator and dental assistant. Every time Brandie and I worry about making enough money to raise a kid I think about this time in life. I don’t think I will ever understand how my mom made it work making just a small fraction of what we are able to bring in together. I never went without, the lights never went off, and my mom made sure I felt loved every day even though she had to be stressed more than I can imagine.
I’ve always been a little independent. When I went to college I didn’t stay in touch with her like I should have. This again is not a unique story, but it is something I regret often. The last couple of years have brought us a lot closer together. I’ve begun to understand just how lucky I was to have her growing up.
All of this reflection on my own raising as taught me that you don’t have to have the most money, the best situation, or be the perfect age to raise a kid. Situations will change and you will never be able to control that. You just have to love and care about them every day. I think I can handle that.
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