Today is DS1's birthday, so my thankfulness #4 post is about him.
It was a rocky start, finding out at 17, and most of the way through my senior year of high school, that I was pregnant. There was the being in over my head with the overbearing boyfriend, there was the whole 'you can't be visibly pregnant in school' thing of the late 1980's still happening, there was rocky times with my parents over whether or not I was actually going to have the baby. From the moment I realized I was pregnant (one morning in the midst of a lecture during Algebra 2, lol) I wanted to have and keep my baby. However, most everyone who knew my predicament tried to convince me against continuing the pregnancy.
I went round and round with the boyfriend, with my parents, with a few other adult mentors I respected. Time marched on, and after a while it was "too late" for any of them to force me into terminating the pregnancy.
So, I hid it from the school officials, not wanting to be kicked out of school or made to attend adult ed so close to finishing my high school career. Very few of my friends even knew until after graduation. I graduated, with the rest of my class and with honors, in the fourth month of my pregnancy. Thank goodness the fashion was for baggy clothing! My own brother and grandparents didn't even know until I was nearly six months along.
Anyway, my struggles to even be allowed to have DS1 (remember, I was only 17) and then to keep him, had a profound effect on me. I realized what a jerk, loser, abuser, my boyfriend was. I found the guts to break up with him. I found my own voice, and the strength to stand up to others. I worked hard. My son always came first. I vowed to myself that if I had to be a statistic--an unwed teenage mother--that I was going to be a success statistic, and not one of failure.
Well, today DS1 is 24 years old. He is definitely a success statistic. He is hard working. He is kind, compassionate and loyal. He is a veteran of the military. He is a father. He is someone I am very proud of, and thankful to have in my life.