A Mom at 17
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October 8th, 1997 I became a mom for the very first time; I was a mom at 17. I would turn 18 years old just a couple weeks later on the 26th of October. Here I was young, married, and now I had a human being to raise, a human being that I was responsible for, a human being I had to keep alive for the next 18 years. I was terrified.
One thing I knew for sure was I wanted more in life. I wanted to give my baby girl a better life than I had. I wanted her to grow up in church and I wanted her to be strong, courageous, independent but still dependent on Jesus, and never want for anything.
She became my Inspiration
I was only 19 when I divorced my daughter’s father. We were married at 16, became parents nearly a year and half later at 17, and was divorced at 19. He was the love of my life. He was literally the boy next door. We was young we didn’t know everything like we thought we did but we made it work during the time we had together as a family. Little did I know my daughter, Shawnee, was about to become my biggest inspiration in life and my biggest supporter.
Sadly I was a high school drop out but after my divorce, I knew I had to make something of myself so I got my GED. Walking across the stage I could hear my baby girl over the crowd “mommy!” I remember the Director saying as he handed me my diploma “Sounds like you have a fan.” I knew right then I wasn’t doing it for me I was doing it for her.
Life as a Single Parent
Over the years life was rough at times. I worked full time and I went to college full time. There were times when I had to choose between a car or a house. It took me 7 years to get my Associate Degree because my cars kept breaking down. I hated life and I hated the world. I felt like everything was against me and no matter how hard I tried nothing would work. Somehow I pursued and never gave up. If something didn’t work I would just find another way.
The part that sucked the most was when I was working a minimum wage job that I had to work overtime just to make ends meet plus go to night college on top of that, I would only see Shawnee for a few minutes between work and school and then again in the morning before she went to school. There were several times she would stay up till 10:30 at night just to see me before she went to bed.
I just knew things were taking a turn for the better
I fought my way through college and finally graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration: Management in 2007. I was a mom at 17 and I made it this far I just knew everything was going to get better. Unfortunately, that is not how the story goes. I couldn’t find a job because I was either over qualified due to my degree or I had no experience. I felt like I just couldn’t catch a break. Long story short I ended up in Insurance which I loved and then one day I woke up pretty much jobless and we lost everything. I mean everything. I found myself having breakdowns when the kids weren’t around. I would just cry and ask God “Why? Why are you allowing this to happen?” I’m sure I even snapped on my kids a few times from being overwhelmed with stress.
Follow Your Heart
Follow your heart that’s what I always tell my kids. No matter what we have been through we have always found a way out with God’s help of course. Have you ever sat and talked about a dream of yours or what life would be like “if” you had this or you could do that? Did you have people tell you-you was crazy? Yeah, me too, but I had one special person that always believed in me and inspired me to keep going when times got tough. She will always say something like “Mom, remember think positive” or “don’t think like that mom.” Even though I wasn’t able to give her everything I wanted she still believed in me and still does. She inspires me to keep trying and to keep pushing. She is now 17 herself. Thankfully she is NOT a mom at 17 but she is a Missionary and a very strong, independent, courageous beautiful young lady that has made her mom proud. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.