I know, I know – I’m late again. It seems to be a thing with me lately. Our open house was postponed last weekend (sort of), so we’re doing it again today, and it’s thrown my whole weekend off.
I used to always be very punctual; I miss that particular virtue. Now it seems that no matter what I do, I’m always late, always running behind, and I never catch up. Just when I think I’m caught up, I realize I’ve forgotten something and I haven’t caught up at all. *sigh*
I think this lateness issue of mine can be traced to my eighteenth Christmas. I was living with my ex-husband and his parents at the time (we were just dating then), and I was home from college on break. Things that often happen between consenting adults happened and, lo and behold, some six weeks later, I was late. You never think it will happen to you, but it can. And it does.
Oddly enough, the idea of premarital sex was less of an issue for me prior to that Christmas. Only when I turned up pregnant did it suddenly become a problem. Sure, I’d always said that I wanted to wait, but hormones are difficult things to overcome. And like I said, you never think it will happen to you.
I was back at school when I found out I was pregnant. I had suspected for a couple of days, so a friend of mine agreed to drive me to Cedar Falls, where they have a Planned Parenthood, so that I could have a test done. But they closed at 4:00 p.m. and it was a twenty-minute drive, and by the time we walked the three blocks to D Lot and spent half an hour trying to locate her bright blue car (which was buried under a foot of snow), it was too late. We got to the strip mall the clinic was in and found them closed.
Another friend of mine lived nearby (nearby being half an hour away and thus a relative term), and she agreed to drive me to Wally World to buy a pregnancy test. I was mortified walking through the store with it, convinced that everyone was staring at me in judgment. When we returned to my dorm, I said goodbye (she had somewhere else to be) and hiked back up to my floor alone.
I headed for the bathroom. Every part of me was trembling. Until then, I had never been so scared. As I waited for the three minutes to pass while the test did its thing, I kept trying to figure out what to tell people. I was terrified. And sure enough, three minutes later, two little pink lines looked up at me from the test stick.
I sobbed. Everything I had dreamed of seemed poised to slip through my fingers.
I slid down the wall of my bathroom stall and cried till I didn’t think I could cry anymore. Then I called my friend, the one who had just left ten minutes earlier. She could hardly understand me because I was still crying, but my tears were enough to give away the results.
The next person I had to tell was my boyfriend. I didn’t know how to tell him, but I feared the worst. I’d read enough true-life stories in magazines about girls who got pregnant and whose boyfriends promptly dumped them to be scared out of my mind. But when I did tell him, he took it a lot better than I had expected. As a matter of fact, a few weeks later, he asked me to marry him. And when he told his parents, they were very supportive.
Next it was time to tell my family. The only person I wasn’t afraid to tell was my dad. When I still lived at home, he always told me that if I ever got into trouble, I shouldn’t do anything stupid; I should just come home and we’d figure something out together. When I walked up to him and said, “Hi, Grandpa,” he was confused at first, so I repeated myself. It still took a minute to sink in, but when it finally did, his response was one I’ll never forget.
“Well, I tried to teach ya to keep yer pants up till ya got married, but ya didn’t listen, did ya?” he said.
And that was the end of it.
But I also had to tell my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. I was beyond scared of telling them. They were very old-fashioned when it came to that sort of thing, and I’d been raised the same way, so I knew they would be disappointed in me. That was the thing I was dreading the most about telling them I was pregnant, that look of pure disappointment.
Grandma always used to bite her lower lip when I’d done something naughty, and she was sick enough as it was – I didn’t want to make things worse for her. Ex went with me to tell them, and I would rather have been anywhere than in that room. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. At least I could also tell them that we were getting married.
For whatever reason, I couldn’t tell my aunt. Of course, she knew, but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her, and I’m still not sure why. The day we did finally talk about it was the day my grandma died. We were at the Hospice House and had gone away from Grandma to talk. By the end of the conversation, I was in tears, but that’s about all I remember.
I often wonder what my life would be like if I had never gotten pregnant then – would I have finished college the way I planned? Would I have married my ex? Would I have a long list of publishing credits to my name? And yet, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for anything, even though there are a million things I wanted to experience in college and didn’t.
Bubbles is ten now, and I can’t imagine life without him.
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