Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank You, Mom

I received a thank you note from my 8 year old daughter, Aimee, today.  It was taped to my bedroom wall, from a pack of simple thank-you note cards she found while cleaning her bedroom. Inside, in red Crayola marker, she had written, "I love you so much Mom, thank you for having me."  I chuckled when I read it, and thought about how cute it was and how much I love her.  And then I thought about what she had written.  Simple words, with so much weight behind them.  Weight she is completely unaware of, and couldn't possibly have thought of when she wrote it.  I'm sure she was trying to think of something loving and "grown up" to write.  But those words took me back...

When I was 17, I started dating a guy that was two years older, and had lived across the street from me since I moved in my 6th grade year.  We had never been friends.  Too be honest, I was always a little afraid of him.  I was a "good little Christian girl" who had been sheltered most of my years, and he was a drinker and a party-er, had been on the high school football team, and belonged to a world in which I knew nothing about.  Looking back, I'm still not sure why he was interested in me.  I can only assume I was incredibly boring to him.  But he paid attention to me (no one ever had), which made me feel very special.  He even went so far as to make sure his friends didn't swear in front of me or do anything that might offend me because, as he told them, "Liz isn't like that."

Four months after we were officially "dating," he left for Parris Island, S.C. to join the USMC.  My mom has said that she thinks I fell in love with him while he was gone, through the letters we would write back and forth.  Looking back, she was right.  But it was "love" all the same.  He arrived home just days before my high school graduation.  I remember walking into his kitchen, seeing him tan and fit and transformed the way only Marine Corps bootcamp and MCI can do.  If I hadn't fallen in love over letters, I did right then.

It didn't take long for our relationship to change.  He was still a party-er, and since i was 18 and had graduated high school, he thought it was time I "grew up" and left my old, boring ways behind.  I wasn't willing to do that.  But I really liked him and didn't want to disappoint him.  I was really torn.  We settled for "middle ground."  He came to church with me and hung out with me solo, and I never questioned his activities when he was with his friends.  After a month or so, we started talking marriage.

I'll summarize the rest.  We talked marriage.  I was in some pretty deep puppy love.  He wanted to move our relationship "forward" but I wanted to wait until we were married.  I gave in after a while.  I was going to marry him anyway, right?  After a couple months, my guilt was too much and I tried ending the physical part of our relationship.  It wasn't as simple and easy as I naively thought it would be.  I tried scaring him with the possibility of a baby, but his response was always that we'd be a family then and would get married.

It went on for several months.  I'm sure you can even guess the rest.  I finally ended things with him, as hard as it was.  I knew in my heart that we were different, and that I really did want to marry a Christian (which he was not interested in becoming).  We tried to remain friends, because we still loved eachother, but it was hard not to then want the relationship back.  A few weeks after my 19th birthday, a close friend came to me in tears.  She thought she might be pregnant.  My heart dropped in that moment when I realized i might be, too.

I went to him and told him my suspicions.  I didn't even have the money for a pregnancy test and had to get it from him.  I was so unbelievably scared (how would I tell my parents?  What would people say at church?  How would I not die of mortification?).  I will never in my life forget telling him.  All those months of him telling me we'd be a family were comforting me as I crossed the street to his house.  He met me at the door and greeted me with, "Well?"  i told him I was, and hope swelled up inside of me.  Hope that he'd take a breath, process what I said, and then we would get through it together.

He didn't.

He sat down and put his head in his hands.  After a moment, he looked up at me and said, "I can't have a kid, Liz.  I'll give you the money to go get an abortion."

Looking back, I should have expected that response.  But I didn't.  I honestly thought we would get through it together, no matter how scary and huge it was going to be.  I felt so heart broken and alone.

I understand the fear and desperation of that moment.  I understand the intense need to make life what it was only days before.  And I can tell you that God never makes a mistake when He creates a child, no matter the circumstances surrounding the child"s conception or birth.

She's 8 now.  Phil officially adopted her when she was 5.  She is sassy and beautiful and I cannot imagine my life without her daily presence.  And Phil, even though we will soon be divorced, loves her more than anything.  She is his princess.

So to her, it was a simple "thank you" she wrote to feel grown up and show her love.  But it was something even more meaningful to me.  And from a woman, who was once a scared teenager, alone and facing some pretty big will be okay. And you will never regret having the baby.


  1. I love that girl too, so SO much. And I'm crying as I type this. Please give her a big hug for me, and I can't wait to give her one myself in a couple short weeks!

  2. We became friends after you were already pregnant. I haven't known you not being a mom. I love all that you do for all of your children. I'm sorry that all of this happened, but then again I'm not. If it hadn't, Aimee wouldn't be a part of all of our lives. I wish things could have been better. You are an amazing woman and a fantastic mom. You have taught me several things about being a mom and I know you are teaching all of your kids what a good parent is. :)

    Love ya!

  3. Thanks for sharing from your heart, Liz. Love you!