By Ann's Daughter
(Photo: Professional model).
Be me; a 16-year-old honor student. I fell in love and lost my virginity to TJ, my 17-year-old boyfriend. I got pregnant.
The more I began to show, the more TJ avoided me. Finally, TJ dumped me.
My mom says she was "cursed" to have me as a teen, and now I'm passing the curse on to my child. Perhaps this is why my mom never liked me.
My mom had a new boyfriend, and she let him and his 13-year-old daughter move into our tiny home. Mom always chose her men over me, and this time she chose this man’s daughter over me, too.
When I confided to my mom that I was pregnant, she told her boyfriend. Her boyfriend said: “You can’t stay here; I don’t want you influencing MY daughter to get pregnant.”
The following day my mom packed my clothes in a black garbage bag and told me to move in with my ex-boyfriend.
Be me; walking four blocks to my EX-boyfriend’s house, with all my possessions in a black garbage bag. I asked HIS mother if I could stay, and she laughed in my face.
“How do I know that’s TJ’s kid? And we won’t know until it’s here so, no. You can’t stay here.”
I asked for TJ. His mom smirked: “You know he ain’t here.”
She slammed the door and I sat on her porch with my garbage bag, waiting on TJ.
After about an hour, the old woman across the street waved me over.
“Bring your bag,” she told me.
I introduced myself, fighting tears. The tears won.
Her name was Ann.
She was a retired postal worker, never married, no children. Ann had deep, ebony, skin with a mane of curly, silver hair; she wiped my face with her soft hands.
"Stop crying, you’ll make your baby sad.”
Ann smiled, a warm, genuine smile that I’ve never seen from my mom.
Ann pointed at TJ’s house. “I knew she was going to turn you away. Don’t you know men who ain’t sh!t come from women who ain’t sh!t?!”
Ann told me I could stay with her as long as I continued to go to school and help her with chores.
I had my baby. I was going to go across the street to introduce my baby to his father and grandmother. But Ann stopped me. “They know you live here. They know you’ve had the baby. Let them walk across the street to meet the baby; don’t give them the opportunity to slam the door in your face again.”
Ann babysat my son all throughout high school. She loved him, fed him, helped me potty train him. My son looked identical to his father, yet his bio-family never crossed the street to meet him.
I graduated from high school, got a job and enrolled in a nursing program. I was saving money to find a place for me and my son because it was HARD to see my child’s father outright ignore us while he brought other women home.
I came home from work one day and Ann was on the floor, cold. Ann’s heart just stopped. My son was sitting next to her; luckily, he thought she was asleep.
I was devastated.
Ann wasn’t my mom, but she was my mother.
I loved her more than she knew. It turns out that Ann loved me too; in her will, she left her home to my son. She left her life’s savings, $33,432.17, to me.
(The devil stays busy, on the morning of Ann’s funeral, my mom called. Her boyfriend left her for another woman, but his daughter was still in her home and being disrespectful. I told my mom it wasn’t a good time to chat, as I was burying my real mother that day.) My mom is still toxic so we don't have a relationship. And I'm okay with that.
Ann, my mother, died 17 years ago; I kept my promise to be productive.
Today I’m a Registered Nurse, engaged to a man who is a remarkable father to my son. We live in the same home, across the street from my son’s biological dad and grandmother. We're staying in this house until my son turns 21, and then he can make decisions about what he wants to do with his property.
After all these years, the bio-family never crossed the street to meet my son, but they watch him.
I watch them, too.
I see their house falling apart. I see my ex fighting in the street with various women. And I see his mother’s shame; my handsome son is growing into manhood, in her son's likeness, while her son is declining into a baby boy.
I smile to myself sometimes as I enter my home, knowing that the deadbeat bio-family is watching me.
See, I'm not a vulnerable, homeless, pregnant teen anymore. I'm a loving mother, and a living testament to Ann's first words to me:
"When one door slams in your face, God opens a door right across the street.”