The best "mistake" I've ever made

15.7 years ago I was sitting on the toilet in a bathroom stall at a McDonald's down the street from my ex-boyfriend(as of one hour ago), a glaringly positive pregnancy test in my hand.  It was towards the end of the summer after my first year of college, during which I had managed to do so badly that I lost my scholarship. My actions over the last few months made it inevitable and there were plenty of signs, so a positive pregnancy test shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was. My pregnancy was a culmination of all of the mistakes I made up until that point in my life and there it was, staring me in the face. Confirmation that I had broken all of the rules. Be a good girl. Define "good". Don't be a slut. Don't have pre-marital sex! Did it and enjoyed it. Focus on school and don't get distracted. But distraction(Joey) is so fun! Finish college and get a good job! Eh. Who needs college? I can work anywhere!

So, as many newly pregnant women young and old have had to ask themselves, I asked, "What do I do now? Do I hide this "mistake" and get rid of it? I'm only 18! I'm not married. I don't have a job. I'm not even with Joey anymore! What do I do?! Shit, I don't know!" I kept it a secret for a while, only telling Joey while I tried to figure things out on my own. Although we didn't get back together at the time, he told me he'd be there for me, regardless of what I decided to do. I couldn't decide though, so I asked people for advice. Almost everybody I knew, directly and not-so-indirectly, suggested I get an abortion and get back on track and move on with my life. My grandma told me of this young couple (who coincidentally sounded like my mom and dad)who was in a similar situation, had their whole lives ahead of them and ended up getting an abortion. I couldn't believe I was hearing her hint that I should do the same. I finally told my mom, thinking she'd be sympathetic since I just found out she went through a similar situation, but instead she kicked me out. So I made an appointment for an abortion and stayed with my dad, but only under the condition that it'd only be very short-term, until I figured out what I'd do after my appointment. Still uneasy with my decision, I reached out to the Internet and asked strangers for advice. 

It was the strangers who really touched me, even though they didn't know anything about me at all. All I told them was my situation, and they all said it was OK and didn't judge me. They helped make me feel OK about myself and encouraged me to embrace my "mistake". I told Joey I was going to go through with the pregnancy and he said OK. He told his mom about the situation and asked her if I could stay with them. She said OK despite only meeting me a few times beforehand. (To this day, I'm so grateful to her, Larry and all of Joey's family for their acceptance and non-judgement.) So I cancelled my appointment the day before I was supposed to go in, told my dad I would be on my way and I went. Although I appreciated having the option to wipe my slate clean I just knew what was right for me, personally(I'm PRO-CHOICE, don't get it twisted). I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I went through with it. I decided to take responsibility for my actions and embrace my mistake instead of sweeping it under the rug and pretending it never happened. I'm so glad I did.

When I took that leap of faith, I had no plan, no idea how things would turn out. Being young products of divorced parents, Joey and I struggled to figure out the ins and outs of parenting and just being together as a couple. Luckily, we had great support around us and our kids have turned out healthy, vivacious, smart and kind, despite our shortcomings. Even though he was our guinea pig, my son is doing so much better than I did at his age. It took me twice as long as some of my contemporaries to get a college degree, but having a little one gave me a reason to focus and I eventually found a career I am truly passionate about. We initially had to rely on the generosity of Joey's family to help support us, but in time we've managed to find our footing and we've been managing fairly well at maintaining our own household. 

Today at 0950, I celebrate the birth of what was supposed to be my biggest mistake. It's hard to believe that it's been 15 years. Yes, life has been hard, but he made it worth fighting for. He brought the right people into my life at the right times. Looking back at the path we've taken, we've made a few wrong turns here and there and I'm sure we'll be making more, but he's always helped guide me to where I need to be. Our path hasn't been the easiest, the fastest nor the one most travelled, but it's been the twists and the steep climbs that have made the view up here so beautiful. 

So, happy birthday, Son. Thank you for always being just what I need at the right time. I thank God every night for speaking to me through you. Instead of being my biggest mistake, you turned out to become the embodiment of my success. 

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