A Young Love Story
I found out I was pregnant when I was 22.
A recent college graduate in my first year of teaching, living in the tiniest apartment known to man, I remember calling my boyfriend to break the news to him (he lived about an hour away from me).
He said, “Ill call you back.”
And then proceeded not to for the rest of day.
Way to NOT reassure a girl.
In his defense, he was in shock. So much so that I’ve heard reports that, while I comforted myself with a massive bowl of mac n’ cheese (I took the eating for two thing seriously), he may have sat on his bed for hours just staring at the blank TV screen.
That boyfriend and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this May (he called back eventually, obviously).
Happily married pretty much always, with a single family house, an oversized car, three sons and a dog to call our own, we’re pretty much basically your average American family. Just slightly more awesome.
And, despite the early naysayers in our life, so far, it seems like we’ve beaten the odds.
Of course, no one expected us to make it. No ever really expects young people in love, sans marriage certificate with a baby on the way, to make it.
We got the hurry-up-and-get-married advice from our parents which we ignored. We got the don’t-even-think-about-getting-married advice from our friends. We ignored them too. We got the eye rolls and the head shakes from random citizens. Even our employers weighed in on our situation as it unfolded (my principal called me in and had a “meeting” with me about it). We ignored them all too.
I have to admit, though, we were scared. I mean, duh, of course we were.
But not for all of the reasons everyone else seemed scared for us. We wondered about our ability to be good parents. We fretted over our financial stability and whether or not I’d be able to stay home when the baby came. We didn’t know where we were going to live (smallest apartment known to man was NOT happening), and we didn’t know a thing about raising a baby.
But, we knew that we’d be able to do it together. Possibly we were too naïve to think anything else.
And, while everyone else questioned our commitment and our ability to understand what real love meant (because, 22 year olds really don’t know a thing about love), we didn’t waste time with that.
We didn’t doubt each other. We didn’t question the rightness of our union, our ability to weather storms together, or our desire to be all up in each other’s grills for the next 50 years. We knew we’d be cool with life and parenthood as long as we were doing it together.
So we didn’t get married.
I know, weird. But, we wanted to do it on our own terms. Not in a whirlwind of crazy fueled by our Catholic parents. Not as our friends rolled their eyes and smacked their lips. Not while our grandparents shook their heads and counted down the days until our ultimate demise.
We never wanted people (or our son) to think we got married because we had a baby. And I didn’t want to get married looking like Violet Beauregarde (yeah, the blueberry chick in Willy Wonka), having to be rolled down the aisle like a bad egg.
We wed in May of 2003 as our 18 month old slept in the front row like a champ.
At our wedding our minister said something I’ll always remember, not to us, but to our families. He said, “If you love these two people, you will step out of their relationship. You will be there to lift them up and support them; not to judge them or make them do what YOU think is right.”
Not that they could’ve anyway; we’re sorta free spirits like that.
People always ask me how we’ve managed to stay together when most of our other friends, who got married older, after they grew savings and before they grew a baby, couldn’t. But, there’s no magic answer. I think growing up together actually helped us. And, we decided, before we even met, that we’re the marry once kind of people. Plus, we like each other. A lot. We were BFFs before we even started making out in the dorm stairway, and having that helps. Plus, we’re awesome, independently and also together, so there’s that.
I’m no Bella and he’s no Edward (dangit), but we’ve got our own love story that we plan to rock until the end.
Want some good advice? Check out Together Forever: A Lover's Guide to A Pretty-Much-Totally-Happily-Ever-After.