Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy Mother's Day You Stupid Teenager

This kid....

 I've never thought of myself as a jealous person. I don't begrudge or  wish ill will on anyone because they have more stuff than I do. I  wanted a husband for a long time but I was sincerely happy for all my  siblings when they beat me to the alter. I've wanted my own children  since I was 12, but I don't plot the kidnapping of some baby in  Walmart. Our friends have some amazing babies right now and I stalk  them all on Facebook but that's a close as I go. 

 I'm about to get a brand new niece named Ruby  and I can hardly wait!!! I'm truly happy for  everyone that has been able to add kid stuff to  their home and more chairs around the dinner  table. Our dinner table is the drop off for bags,  keys, mail...We never eat at the table because  there is a pervading feeling that people are  missing. Still, I don't covet as you would think of  traditional coveting I guess. Babies are the  flowers of the human race. I just love their smell,  their little round soft faces and maybe it's because I'm a teacher, I love being able to see their learning curve minute by minute as they process and decode everything, moment to moment. I just love that.

That being said, it doesn't take away my bitterness. Bitterness is a pool in my heart that I sometimes swim around in. Yes - I have considered drowning myself in it a few times, but I have a prescription that just reaches out and rescues me from those moments. Generally speaking I wish everyone on earth a full and happy family. There is nothing more important to the fabric of society than the family.  

Mother's Day however, is one of the days I suit up for the pool. It is, without a doubt, my least favorite holiday. I focus on my own mother, who is a saint, and the good teachers and neighbors that helped raise me. But my bitterness only lasts a few weeks, from the first FTD floral ad on TV to the last. 

Today is the Thursday before Mother's Day 2016 and during my prep period I drove up to our new property and there was a giant back hoe digging the hole for our new home. WHAT A GREAT DAY!!! We've waited since January 30th for this day. I dropped big tears of giddy joy.

As I was walking back in the school building one of my students was coming toward me arm in arm with a friend, I presume, and holding her stomach. As she approached I could see that she had been crying. This is not new for this particular student so I found myself saying "oh no, what now?" as she came toward me.

Student:   Jan, can I talk to you in private?
Jan:          Sure.
Student: screwed up. I was stupid and I...well...I had sex...(the most awkward pause                     ever in my life. I don't know why she is giving me this much information. I'm sure I looked                   dumbfounded and uncomfortable.)
Jan:          Okaaaaay...
Student:   And now I am paying for the consequences (she literally looks down at her stomach) 
                (I cock my head to one side and raise an eyebrow - still confused at why she is telling me                     this.)
Student:   I'm pregnant.  (She said it as if I didn't know what she was talking about.)
Jan:          I get it.
Student:   So that's why I wasn't in class today and that's why I don't have my book report done.
Jan:          How did getting pregnant prevent you from doing your book report exactly?
Student:   (Looks down the hall...she didn't think I would call her on that I guess) I've been having                        some  wicked cramps...I just can't be in school. It makes it really hard to concentrate. My                    counselor will be contacting you to excuse me from my work.
Jan:          I'll let them excuse your absence, but you still need to hand in your missed work.
Student:   (she starts to tear up) Okay, whatever.

Then she turned around and walked off with her friend (who was also crying because that's how girls are), head bowed and hand still on her stomach. I just stood there.

When you are a drama teacher, you find yourself listening through tears to boys that want to come out, but feel like they will be ostracized by their families. This is my world and I'm comfortable in it. But this pregnancy business is a whole new thing for me.

My thoughts came in starts and stops but not immediately. I stood there for a full minute before I processed anything at all, then slowly I put one leg into the pool of bitterness, and then another and finally waded down in up to my chin...the pain was acute and sharp like I had had the wind knocked out of me. I stood there, in the empty hall. I felt a flaming wave of jealously come over me. I felt a wicked anger rising from my belly to my throat and down my arms. I made fists. I wanted to hit something. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I wanted to melt into nothingness.

Finally, coherent thoughts came...

"...Wish I could have stayed home from school every time I felt crappy in a pregnancy."

"...Can I have it?"

"Happy Mother's Day you stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid....lucky teenager. Damn you and your spanking new ovaries."

And then finally...

"Maybe you'll get lucky and have a miscarriage..." 

And that response surprised me because I would never wish a miscarriage on anyone. Even a stupid teenager. But I was heating up like furnace inside. Which also surprised me. I just couldn't blow it off like I do most things teenagers tell me....just kidding...not kidding. It played so vividly in my mind for several hours after it happened like I'd gotten up from a bad nightmare that wouldn't dissipate.

And just like that my day went from HERO to ZERO. The remaining 10 minutes of my prep I spent logging on to my blog and getting it out of my system and onto this magical digital paper. I can't swim in the pool of bitterness for long or I end up eating my way out of it. Blogging is easier on the arteries. I immediately started craving a bread bowl from Kneaders like a typical crack head.

I spent the day reeling from my conversation with the pregnant teenager. I realize that I have at last figured out my kryptonite where jealousy is concerned. Pregnant teenagers. Anyone else in the world can be pregnant and I look at them with fond admiration and I know how exciting a time it is and what sacrifices are being made to bring that child into the world. I am in awe of the entire process.

But apparently...

pregnant teenagers...

... make my blood boil.

I just want to clarify - this isn't their fault. This is my fault. I just didn't know how it would destroy me. In 25 years of teaching I have never had a student tell me that they were pregnant. Gay, addicted to drugs, homeless...but never pregnant. I think it's because I teach kids that do a lot of extracurricular activities and honestly they don't have much time to tempt biology by "screwing up" (if you will).

According to the Department of Adolescent Health, there were 249,786 babies born in 2014 to teenagers. That is 24.2 births for every 1000 adolescents. This is good news actually because in 1991 - there were 61.8 for every thousand. Still, the teen birth rate is one of the highest of all the developed nations - much higher in fact than Canada, Great Britain, France or Japan. It makes me wonder if those countries just perform more abortions. Don't get me started about abortion.

Luckily for me, my pregnant student transferred to a school that will help her graduate. That's good for her and me. I told her friend that if [my student] decides not to keep it that I would gladly take it off her hands, but she said "Yeah, I heard she's going to sell it," which sounds bad but in teenager language probably means put it up for adoption. At least I hope that's what it means.'s been a few years now since I've been pregnant myself and my heart has mended itself pretty well. I didn't know there was still that one little oozing wound. This experience lifted me right off my feet and plopped me on my butt with a hard thump. I hope that I can come to terms with that in the future. Maybe the added pressure of Mother's Day made it worse because in the moment I wanted to break things but today I'm rational and I wish my student and her baby a happy life.

If karma has its way, and it usually does, that baby will show up at auditions in 15 years and knock my socks off and I'll come directly to this blog and eat these digital words in front of the world. That would be my luck - see you in 15.