Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Son

Happy Birthday Brandyn. I love you son.

My eldest son turns 37 years old today. He was born when I was 17 years old. His father was the first man/boy I had sex with...well depending on how you define sex I suppose. As a young girl, my original plans were to "save my virginity" until I was married. In keeping with that goal, I had never been penetrated by a penis. But that plan went by the wayside pretty fast after Rick showed up.

Rick was 20 and I was 16 when we "hooked up." He had never met a "dope smoking virgin" before and was very impressed with me. I guess I was impressed with him too in his bell bottom jeans with the peace signs embroidered on the sides. Compared to the crazy characters that he was hanging out with, he was a decent and level headed guy.

I never even considered birth control. So much for no sex education in the schools. And I certainly didn't get any from my mother. Knowledge about sex and birth control was very simple back in those days and it came from Ann Landers who told us young girls to "keep a dime between your knees." I kid you not. Well I also learned in church that good girls were virgins when they got married and girls who "gave it away" to boys before they got married were whores. I was a whore in my mind but not with my body. I wanted to have sex with all the boys I was with and I did too, I just kept my clothes on when I did it and that meant I was still a good girl. After Rick came along I just didn't care anymore although I remember going through some tears and mourning after the first time. After that we had sex anywhere and everywhere we could find privacy. Oftentimes it was on the back lawn of the church down the street.

Even though Rick loved me he still cheated on me with other girls. He contracted gonorrhea from one of them and it's the gift that keeps on giving so he then passed it on to me. We both got treated at the health clinic and I was really angry and embarrassed but I loved him so I forgave him. Six months after we met I was pregnant. My mother cried, "How could you do this to me?" I informed her that I hadn't done it to her. Hello? She asked us when we planned to get married and I told her that we didn't, that we didn't need to get married to prove our love. She asked me "what will the neighbors think?" I swear she actually said that. I told her I didn't care what the neighbors thought. She said, "Well maybe your child will care." Truth of the matter was though, that I did care. My mother was very provincial and even though I was a rebel of sorts, I was pretty darn provincial too. So Rick and I got our blood tests and marital counseling which was the law, and my mother gave us her car and credit card and sent us off to Reno, Nevada with a parental permission slip to get married. I briefly considered taking off to play in San Francisco for the weekend and simply telling her we had gotten married but I decided that she would ask to see the marriage certificate so that would be a bad idea. And in my heart of hearts, I wanted to be married to the boy/man whose child I was carrying inside of me. I wore the cutest little off-white, satin, mini wedding dress and my god, when I look at the picture now I realize that I was a baby. Sixteen years old.

The first thing my mother said to me when we got back was, "Show me your marriage certificate." I did and she was satisfied. Now she was praying that the baby would be late so people wouldn't suspect that I was pregnant before I married. It worked. The baby was due November 7 and was born a full month late. I mother could now tell people that the baby was born a month early. God does answer prayers! And he even says yes sometimes.

Brandyn was born on December 8, 1971 at 7:00 in the evening. He weighted 8lbs 13oz and was 21 inches long. Rick was there in the delivery room with me, covered from head to toe in a green paper hat, gown and slippers. Hospitals are the oddest places. They took him away and scrubbed his little body clean before they brought him back to me. They kept babies in the nursery, away from their mothers back then but it was an exceptionally busy night and they forgot about us. Hours later when a nurse finally poked her head in and found me sleeping while holding him in my arms she had a fit and quickly took him away.

Even though I told them that I wanted to nurse him, they put him on formula. I was allowed to nurse him when they brought him to me but this was only after they had filled his little tummy bottles of both formula and sugar water. I didn't know how to advocate for myself and my baby, or what exactly to advocate for. After we got home we settled into a fine nursing relationship for one year until I weaned him so I could start taking the pill. At least I learned something about birth control by then.

Rick and I were living in our own little place behind the bus station. He went off to work every morning as a typewriter (remember typewriters?) repairman and I stayed home to take care of our baby and became little miss homemaker. I remember having $12. a week for our food budget. I would carefully plan a weekly menu for each meal--breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I baked bread, cleaned house, and gave my baby baths in his little plastic bath tub during the day. I had dinner ready when Rick came home in the evening. It was a sweet and ridiculous little life that didn't last long.

I almost finished high school. I had entered into an alternative high school and it's first program for pregnant teens after Rick and I married. They must have received some huge grant because they treated us like royalty compared to the other students. After Brandyn was born I started back after a bit and was one credit short of graduating before I dropped out. My inner rebel decided that I didn't need a high school diploma to tell me what I was worth. I never had much overt guidance in my life while growing up--not much beyond being a basically decent person--especially educationally.

Our little home in back of the bus station was infested with cock roaches and when I found one in my baby's crib I insisted that we move immediately. Eventually we found a nice little home to rent on a nice piece of land where we thought we would be happy but it didn't work out that way. Rick lost his job and we struggled financially. He finally took a job working with his brother who was a bee keeper who lived in little hick town about half an hour from Chico that closed down at 6:00 in the evening. Everyone in that town (in my mind at least) was toothless, illiterate, white trash and I refused to move there with him. Driving back and forth each day would have sucked too much of the little money he was making into gas so he would stay with his brother during the week and return home to me and Brandyn on the weekends. Life changed fairly quickly for us after this point.

So went the first year of life for my eldest child. To be continued.


Greenwoman said...

Happy Mommy's Day. ((hugs))

Okir said...

Gee, sounds like you were recounting part of my life story there. Only it happened two years earlier (69).

Adrienne Parker said...

Thank you Greewoman. I always look at my children's birthdays as mommy's day. Thanks for commenting Okir. Wow, yes, so we have that in common--being young mothers back in the day. Blessings to you.