I got pregnant on my 19th birthday. 3 mths before I turned 20, I gave birth to my oldest son. I was alone. My boyfriend of the time, and “father” of my child has skipped out before I reached my second trimester. I’m not sure why I expected more. I had moved back into my parents home, that I had spent years trying to get out of. I felt like a miserable failure.

The year passed and by the time my son reached his 1st birthday I was dating, and soon after, living with my now husband. It wasn’t long before I was pregnant again. Married, two babies just under 2 and I was pretty wrapped up in the whole “mom thing”. By the time I was 24, I’d been married for 3 yrs and given birth to my 3rd child. I’m now closing in (that sounds so ominous doesn’t it?) on 11 yrs of marriage, after 2 years of living together. Nearly 13 yrs of being a family.

Through the years I’ve grown nostalgic for the past. All teh “What ifs”. What would have happen if I had choosen door number 2 and experinced my “youth” like all my friends did. At times I really felt like I was missingout.

I no longer think I missed out on things. Last night I had drinks with an old friend. Ok, full disclosure, and old boyfriend from my high school days. The one that got away if you will, lol. He was telling me about several of our old classmates. So many of them were, and still are, so consumed by drugs and partying – even as we are entering our 30’s. Lives lost in the physical as well as mental sense. Shells of people left in the wake. Door number 2.

I may have been raising a family at 19. Perhaps my husband and I rushed into a relationship, marriage, and even more children hastily. Hell, there have been times when I truly believed we should not be together. Ups and downs, trials and tribulations beyond anything I can even put into words. But, we are still here. We are still strong. We are still fighting for us. And, I can hold my head up with pride and say I never got tangled up with drugs. I smoked pot, once, at age 16 and didn’t even like it.

Even more than that, I gained myself. At age 19 I was a broken person. My self esteem was so low that all I wanted was someone to love me, and when I received that love, I didn’t think I deserved it and I would do something to screw it up. My husband, with all his faults, picked me up, dusted me off, and created the strong woman I am today. Even if it’s something he doesn’t agree with (and there’s alot, lol) he supports me so I can do it. I have so many ideas, but no structure to implement them. He gives me that stricture. I was a raging fire out of control, burning whatever I touched until he came along and grounded me. He gives me focus. He believes that I can do anything even when I don’t believe it myself.

I would not be who I am today, without him. And, I ain’t missing a thing.