I have been very fortunate to have people in my life to help me when I needed it the most. Most of them came from my church, not my family. Strange isn’t it? I think mostly it was because my foster mom believes in tough love and letting me figure it out on my own and my bio family was in no position to help me either. So there I was, 18, homeless with no idea where to go, what to do and no life skills to even know where to start.
However, my friend Kim and her mom, from church, stepped in and let me move in with them. Kim’s mom, Donna ran an in-home daycare, so during the day I helped in the daycare. I love kids so this was no problem for me, except for the bratty ones, but I even loved them too.
Kim and I had been friends for a while, but living together did test our friendship. She was on the straight and narrow and I was the wild one. I’m not sure how either her or her mom put up with me for so long, but they did and I am grateful for that. I finally got a job at Taco Bell and soon found a one bedroom apartment. Neither lasted long. My apartment was the go-to party pad and I barely had the job at Taco Bell before I walked out on my ten minute break. Somehow I managed to keep the apartment for the next month. During that time, it was one big drunken, pot filled party. I can’t even give a clear timeline of all this. I just remember that it was May or June of 1996, because that is when I met my soon-to-be baby daddy.
I met Tim at a “party” at his house or his friends house, I’m not sure on the details. Now, just to be clear, I think you all have gathered that my decision making skills really sucked at this time (sometimes they still do). I never really thought too far ahead about the consequences of my actions, who I might hurt, or how I might even hurt myself. I also never really thought about the consequences of having sex. I had a skewed sense of love for a long time, having no real role models to teach me how to have a proper relationship. I think in my teenage mind, I thought by having sex with someone, I might get them to love me. We all know that is not how it works. Anyhow, so I slept with Tim that night and a couple times after.
I knew before I even took a pregnancy test that I was pregnant. I knew that Tim was the father, though there was a chance he wasn’t (again, I was not the best at making good choices). Let me just stop for a moment to give you girls and boys some words of wisdom that I have acquired over the years of mistakes I have made. Be picky about who you sleep with. Be careful who you make babies with. You have to deal with them forever, and so does your child. I didn’t know Tim at all. We hadn’t even developed a friendship. I know that he had a girlfriend who was on vacation at the time. Other than that, I didn’t know much.
Again, my church family stepped up to help. Not Kim and Donna this time, but Kim’s sister Tara. She moved me in, helped get me set up with insurance and welfare. Her rule was that I had to go to college and pass my classes. So I did. I took a full load of classes and passed them all, all while my baby was getting bigger and bigger inside of me. I had no idea how I was going to raise this kid by myself. I was only 19. I remember crying and crying about it to myself. I had no help from Tim. When his girlfriend came home from her trip, she of course found out what happened and that I was pregnant. She was still in high school. A month after I found out I was pregnant, she found out she was pregnant too. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t make good choices. Never the less, there we were. Somehow, she and I became friends. Though there have been times when our friendship was strained, for obvious reasons.
On February 18, 1997, the first love of my life was born. Hunter was 8 pounds 12 ounces and 21 inches long. He was absolutely perfect. I swore to him that it would be me and him against the world and he didn’t need a dad because I would be enough. Looking back, I wish I had let Tim be more active in his life. But I think that we do the best we can with what we have at the time.