I haven’t lived with my mom since I was five years old, so I don’t know many good memories of our time together. When I did visit her I mostly remember her arguing with her boyfriend, yelling and cursing, from different sides of the room. When I try to remember the past of my mom, I try to remember through photos she would send me. My favorite one shows us in a room with balloons filled in the background. You can’t really tell we are related unless you look very closely into the picture. My mom and I mostly have the same eyebrows, eyes, chin and cheeks. I have curly hair, bigger noise, and big lips, but my mom had silky hair, smaller nose and fat lips. I’m wearing a white jumpsuit and my mom is wearing a blue shirt with a white jacket. This picture was taken when I was about one years old and my mom is about 17 years old.
Since my mom and I don’t live with each other, I emailed her to talk about how hard it was to be a teen mom. After reading my mom’s answer to the questions I emailed her, I was very shocked at her responses. What shocked me the most was that it wasn’t very easy to be a teen mom! The hardest thing about being a teen mom is being young and having a hard choice of wanting to drop out of high school at around 16 or 17 years old. I wanted to know how hard it is to be a teen mom because I don’t want to end up like that making those choices in high school.
I wanted to know how my mom loved me. She told me a story about my birth. She said, “When I finally pushed you out, I saw your chubby face. The doctor had to flip you upside down just to make you cry, that was the sound of she is breathing and healthy. They put you on top of my chest and I felt the love I have for you.” After reading this is it made me see how happy my mom was when I was first born.
Then my mom told me about when I first started walking, “When you were just about 6 months old and started to sit up by yourself, then months went by and you were crawling. You used to always dance when I would clean up and have the music loud…..you were a very happy baby.” Now I can see why I love dancing, and it’s part of my life.
She told me another story about my cousin and me. “I was so scared because all I heard was a BOOM from the kitchen and my cousin Johnny saw a baby flying down the stairs in the corner of his eyes, so he quickly jumped over the railing and picked you up,” my mother told me. Wow, I was such a wild baby, but let’s just say I’ve stayed the same now.
I also wanted to know what it was like to be pregnant in high school. When my mom was pregnant she started going to an alternative school for pregnant teens. She told me, “I was stressing about how I was going to take care of a baby at age 16 — my biggest concern was to raise a baby with no help from my family.” My mom told me that in the 90’s the school system was different than now and more laid back. She said, “When I dropped out no one seemed to care, so I felt like the school system had let me down instead of helping me to further my education and take care of a baby at the same time.”
After reading my mom’s response I realized why my mom pushes me into working and trying harder in school. My mom had also told me that when she was pregnant with me she moved in with my dad, but soon she became homeless. She was living on people’s couches or sometimes when my dad had money they would get a motel for the night. One day my mom decided that she couldn’t take it anymore and went to get help. When she got help she was referred to a place called Bridgeway, a placement home for pregnant teens and their babies. My mom said, “As the years went by my family had disowned me because I was still in a relationship with your dad. My family didn’t approve your dad because of his race, plus he didn’t want to marry me.” My mom is Chinese and my dad is African-American. My grandfather was more of the traditional Chinese person; the tradition is marrying your own race.
Lastly I wanted to know what her relationship was like with my dad. When my mom was telling about the story of her and my dad I learned that she really had hopes of going to Yale University when she graduated, but that didn’t seem to happen. She stayed with my dad for almost eight years…..WOW that is a lot. My mother told me, “I never thought that I would be with him for almost eight years and have you and your brother, but I’m very happy that you and your brother are in my life.”
I also learned that even though my mom was in a relationship with my dad, she was pretty strong on her own. My mom always had a job, but she would sometimes work two jobs just so she could have enough to make her ends meet. Her family started to come around and saw that she was doing better on her own. No matter what happened they had to be there though, because I was their first grandchild. “It is very hard to be a single parent raising kids,” she said. Money doesn’t bring happiness; it just makes life a little simpler that’s all.”
These are some other questions that I had asked my mom:
- Name some obstacles when you were pregnant with me at 16.
“Having to grow up real fast, learning how to take care of me (health wise) to make sure you were a healthy baby. Having to find a job with no experience, having to find somewhere to live.”
- After having me, did you have any intentions of going back to school?
“Yes I was trying to get my GED when I was pregnant with you, but on my last week of pregnancy I was supposed to take my test but I didn’t get a chance to do that.”
- What is it like not to have much high school education?
“It’s really hard, but I have always been very well educated, and street wise too….I attended general colleges courses to get my GED a couple years ago. I would like to continue my education.”
The most important question I asked my mom was did she have any advice for her oldest and only daughter. She answered, “My advice to you as a young lady is to get an education, live your dreams and follow your dreams no matter what anyone says, and I want the best for you and will always be here to listen. I never had that growing up and I want you to be better than me…I want you to make me proud.”
My mom is always with me no matter what, even if we don’t live with each other. She is like my long lost sister that got reconnected with me!