When I first found out I was pregnant, I was filled with fear. I didn’t know what to do. I was not married, the daughter of a pastor, and the father of the child broke up with me to be with his long time, off and on, high school sweetheart while my heart was shattered into a thousand pieces. I was in my mid twenties, making decent money, and free to change my mind, location, and clothes at a whim. My sister was the first one to know and the first one to support whatever decision I wanted to make. You see, the shame of being a single mother in the church and in the world, AND a black woman, was and is tremendous for some of us. Also, the double standards are real today just as much as they were 16 years ago. You know, women who have children out of wedlock are heavily criticized and penalized in the church and in society. The man goes scotch free pretty much to be promoted in the church and in the world. However, I found out my dad did not share the same view of the church as he told me “That’s my grandchild and we will do whatever we can to help you and the baby.” Also, through a prophesy a woman told me “God never made a mouth that he could not feed.” I am sure she sense my worry of provision.
I didn’t know the entire time I was carrying my child if I would have a boy or a girl. The second decision I made after deciding to keep my child was to arm myself with as much knowledge about being pregnant and parenting. I wanted to know all about the stages of a developing child during and after. I ate right M-Saturday noon and I had what I wanted Saturday evening and Sunday. I remember thinking, if something is wrong with my baby when he or she is born , I can have a clear conscious it was not my fault. It’s the same way I parent. Be strict when I need to, discipline if I need to, be flexible enough to try a different method if what I am doing is not working, education first, God is a must, admit when I am wrong, have fun, protect, loosen the rope of parenthood and give her more freedom at the appropriate time, be okay with her being mad at me, not understanding why I say no sometimes, because I have to be able to know I am doing the right thing and she will not like it or me all the time, but she will still love me and thank me later. Do all of that and more, so that when she flies the nest I can say, I did the VERY BEST I could.
So here we are at 16. She’s sleeping late like any teenager during spring break. Her room is messy. She’s a smart girl with good grades, a good heart, a funny child with a uncanny sense of humor, wise at times and naive at other times, you know….just a child growing up. She’s enjoyed her first trip to Atlanta, the World of Coca Cola, the Georgia Aquarium (saw a dolphin show), and shopped until “I” dropped. I gladly forked over my money, my family made accommodations and sacrifices to make the trip possible (as I am not working due to permanent health issues). I forgo my usual birthday plans happily (we share the same birthday month and our birthdays are three days apart) for her happiness and a memory of her Sweet 16 she will never forget.