This One Crazy Summer…

There are moments in life that unequivocally change everything, whether by fate, or God, or a conscious decision made, after that minute passes, your life has changed so completely you will never be the same because of it. My most significant moment happened so long ago, it seems like it was a past life. But as these moments go, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer of my 21st year, I was terrifically reckless and hopelessly in love with life. I lived in my parents’ vacation home at the beach, I barely worked and college had become a distant memory. I had an awesome group of friends to spend the lazy days and wild nights with, and we partied like we were the last rock stars on Earth. My place was a revolving door of roommates, party crashers and couch-surfers. It was an amazing, magical and crazy fun time.

And then I got pregnant.

I had been dating the guy on and off for a few months, though I had invited
him to move in the night I met him. It wasn’t serious, he was a drummer in a band, I loved musicians, and we had a lot of fun together, but he would never be “the one”. And through some stupid twist of fate (and maybe one tequila shot too many) I was pregnant with his kid. Clearly that was just not going to be something that would work for us.

I had the intention to go back to school someday, I had hopes and dreams for my future that could never come to be if I had a baby then. And in case I haven’t already painted clear enough of a picture, I was far from responsible. There was no way in hell I was equipped to raise a child at that age, it just couldn’t happen. Even on the nights when I lay in bed with my doubts and what-ifs, wondering about the possibilities, I still couldn’t see how it could work. I was angry at myself for being so heartbreakingly irresponsible, and already feeling guilt like I had never known before, but ultimately I saw no other way out.

I made the appointment when I was just shy of 12 weeks. The closest abortion clinic was a 45 minute tear filled drive away, the longest journey and shortest 45 minutes of my life. We walked past the picketers, the guy was with me, he held my hand, he tried to be supportive, but I know all that he felt was a greater sense of relief with each step we took. I left him in the full waiting room, I was quickly taken away, through doors and down halls.

They spoke to me, they asked me questions, they gave me a gown and I put it on. I felt like I was in a very bad dream and I was trying to keep track of the labyrinth of doors they took me through so I would know how to get back out. They brought me to a waiting room full of girls, laughing and chatting, comparing notes on how many times they had met Mr. Hoover. For real. I would imagine they were trying to comfort themselves, making it less important, less of a big deal, less bad, but I found no comfort in their indiscreet chatter. As I sat there in my gown, trying not to cry but failing miserably, I looked down at the desk next to me and saw the ultrasound of someone who had gone before, through the last door. In that moment, looking at this picture of a baby that would never be, I realized that the noise I was hearing was no longer the girls and their mindless quips. It was crying, but it wasn’t my own, it was coming from somewhere very deep inside of me.

And that was my moment, the one where I made the most important choice of my life. I got up and walked out. Through the doors and down the halls. I was going to have this baby. Holy. Crap. I found my clothes and dressed. I was going to be a Mom. They tried to stop me, to talk to me, they wanted to help me think things through, but it was too late. I was keeping the baby. I made my way out, back into the waiting room. I found the dad, he looked confused, I grabbed his hand and I didn’t speak until we were out of there. The crying from inside me had gone, and seemed to have been replaced with a seed of hope, the hum of strength, a sort of peace that could only come from the absolute certainty I was doing the right thing. I was going to have this baby. I didn’t care if I had to do it on my own. I didn’t care about the fact that I was choosing the much harder path. I didn’t care that this was not a part of the plan. This is what was meant to be.

My son is 17 now, and I have been thankful every single day of his life for that moment, the one that held the best decision that ever almost didn’t happen.


26 thoughts on “This One Crazy Summer…

  1. Hurrayyyyyy!!! What an incredible story. Tough to tell and even more so to live, no doubt. The pictures……

    The line that sticks with me “a sort of peace that could only come from the absolute certainty I was doing the right thing.” Wonderfully poignant and well told!

    • Thank you so much!! It was tough to tell, I was nervous about it, but comments like this make it so worth it!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  2. It’s so nice to see you back on the grid, and what a powerful re-entrance you’ve made with this post. A beautifully told, heart-wrenching story. The ending made me cry. You were so brave, listening to your inner voice and making such a life-altering decision at 21.

    • Thank you for such a terrific compliment Kathleen! If only I could stick to a schedule that kept me up there every week, now that would be cool. Just not enough time in the day, I can’t believe I’m just getting around to responding to these comments now, and haven’t even made it through reading the posts from last week yet, I just suck. Sorry, tangent… thanks so much for your kind words!! 🙂 It was the bravest thing I have ever done, and because of it I have always truly believed that you never really know what you can handle until you’re handling it, and it’s always so much more than you think you can.

  3. It sounds like your first decision as a mom was a great one — many hugs for the difficulty arriving there. And congratulations on your almost-a-man son.

  4. This is a poignant story. I really appreciate the way you kept it from becoming something that it wasn’t. You kept in personal and focused on your own experience, which made it easy for me to identify with. You could easily have devolved into judging the other girls in the waiting room, but you shifted to concentrate on yourself, and that was perfect.

  5. This has me in tears. Absolutely incredible. My daughter was unplanned. I never really thought seriously about abortion, but I was terrified and overwhelmed and had only been dating my then-boyfriend (now-husband) for 4 months. Neither of us knew what to do. This Sunday she’ll be a year old, and just like your son, having her is the best decision I ever made. Can’t imagine the world without her. Amazing post. Really powerful and well done. Thank you for sharing your story!

  6. Wow. I am honestly crying right now. A beautifully told true tale. Your son looks like you, as I’m sure you have already heard.

    Wow. Just, wow.

    Look forward to checking out the rest of your blog and seeing what it’s like to raise a boy (since I have a 10-month-old one myself).

  7. Hey, girl. You “followed” me on Twitter, so I followed you back to your blog… glad I did. It makes for a good and honest read. I also blog. Hope you take a moment to stop in and say hi. Take care and keep up the really good work! xoJulia

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