My daughter turned 18 last month, and weeks after her birthday, we were in my room, watching Gilmore Girls, and chatting about how much we had gone through over the years. I’m in my mid-thirties, and I sort of grew up with my daughter. I was just 18 when I became pregnant with her. Right now, I know it was the grace of God that helped me to give birth to and begin raising such a spirited child. I had so many unresolved issues myself. I had relationship issues with her father, and I was so young and naive. I was new to the world, yet I was bringing a little mini me in the world with me to learn as I went along. When I think of how childlike my daughter is at 18, I begin to gain a whole new respect for women who at such a young age bore children. Even at 18, you’re still a baby to society, trying to live life with limited resources and hardly any knowledge of the world around you. I’m grateful that my daughter had and still has her innocence and silliness. She can brighten some of the darkest situations. The hope she exudes helps me to see the light at the end of the tunnel in every situation. For example, through my volatile marriage and divorce, single parenthood, bad roommates, broke days, and the pain of having to ask people for help—her smile, her growing faith in God (along with mine), gave me such strength.
The other day she laughed and made a joke about how I was once stranded on the side of the road. My old Kia had clunked out in the middle of I-75 headed into the city of Atlanta—in the middle of the summer! My daughter was spending some time with my aunt in Decatur, and they came to give me a ride. She said my natural hair had drawn up into a sweated-out Afro. I looked like Michael Jackson when he did that Off the Wall video! But I wasn’t dancing. I was sweating and looking a hot mess! I couldn’t help but laugh just thinking of how I looked! It wasn’t funny then though, but it’s hilariously funny now. I eventually got a new car, but just the experience itself is so funny, words really can’t fully express it.
I believe that when we embrace those types of memories with the right attitude, we will see them as learning experiences and not memories of regret. Those memories should be cherished because they got us from one point to another, and within many of those chaotic experiences, we realized that by the grace of God we grew and developed. During those seemingly impossible situations, we gained strength. We learned not to do this or that. We found another way. We prayed. We believed. We read our Bibles. We went to church. We listened to people with similar situations. In other words, we grew up. If you are a mom facing an impossible situation today, I want to encourage you to keep your head up, there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Just count it as another growing experience.