When did it happen? I remember just a few years ago looking at my account balances and scrounging together enough change so that I could go out to the bar with my friends on Friday nights. Now? Now my Friday nights are spent chasing around a two year old and cooking dinner for my family. Monitoring the budget and doing laundry so that my husband has work clothes for the next work day and our daughter has clean sheets. Hiding out in the bathroom for five minutes so that I can have one moment of me-time before I have to re-emerge and be Mommy again. I have no idea when this new me came to be, but I do know one thing: I love it.
There comes a time in every person’s life when they choose who they want to be when they grow up. For me the choice was made in high school and cemented in college. While most girls my age were worrying about their clothes, makeup choices and boys I was picturing myself with a baby. Yep, that’s right. At around fifteen years of age I had decided that I wanted to be a mother. And before you laugh at the Teen Mom-esque scene unfolding in your mind, I want to clarify that I had absolutely no intentions of getting pregnant while I was in school. In fact, I knew for a fact that I did not want kids until I was in my 20s (you know, because girls in their 20s had all of their shit together…right?) So I waited it out.
While in high school I kept a steady cold front going. None of my classmates were potential husband/daddy material for me. Imagine: I’m the only black girl growing up and going to school in a rural town where my senior class size was 28 kids. Probably not going to happen for me here. Color wasn’t the issue, but I needed someone who wasn’t straight up from the sticks, as I like to call them. You’ve seen Duck Dynasty? Yeah, personally not what I had in mind for a potential husband, although they are pretty damn fun to be around sometimes. So I went searching elsewhere. I went to college.
Now the question of why I went to college still, to this day, boggles my mind. I literally spent three years trying to figure out who I was and what kind of people I liked and got almost nothing to show for it. Racked up some debt, but didn’t get a degree. The saddest part? I didn’t even have enough basic credits for a standard associates degree! I was so focused on my personal journey of discovery that I did not take the time to tell my class advisors that I just wanted a basic class load until I figured out what the hell I was doing in a four year university. Plus, I was a sucky student. A’s and B’s in high school, but I nearly flunked out of college. There was the difference. So I left. Literally.
I had switched from a standard four year, on campus lifestyle and moved to Oregon and an online schooling lifestyle. The results? Still a horrible student, but at least I got to go exploring for a bit. Ended up ditching the online school (which was inevitable), but I did figure myself out. Eight months of soul searching and some interesting experiences with city nightlife eventually brought me back home a little wiser and quite a bit more confident than when I left. Confident enough to live on my own for a bit and just breathe. A year later I was living back at my childhood home and doing my thing when in walks Mr. Man and then everything else is history. I just had to take the long way around to find him. The funny part is that my “plan” has played out flawlessly.
In high school I decided to be a mom in my 20s. While living on my own I scheduled it out (yes, I made a schedule for my life) and came up with this: I was 21. I wanted to be married and have my first kid before age 25. I wanted two kids, one boy and one girl, before age 30. The rest we could play by ear. This is what happened: I was 22. I met my husband and we got married. We had our daughter when I was 23. We are currently pregnant with our second child and I will be 26 when he arrives. I would say the plan went down without a hitch.
So, as I sit here typing in the wee hours of the morning with a now cold cup of coffee, I can’t help but think that while a lot of people couldn’t see the appeal of such a mundane lifestyle, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be. I’m living the dream. I never would have thought that being a “responsible adult and parent” would feel like such an accomplishment.