Who would have thought? Then again, shit happens. Right?
When we found out about the pregnancy, the first thing we did was laugh. We all looked at the pregnancy test, looked at each other, and burst into a rage of laughter. But after the tear-filled chuckles, reality hit: “Oh, shit. What do we do now?”
The father to-be, only a few years older than me, made the executive decision. “We’re telling my mom. We’ve got to tell her, and then she can talk to your mom.”
My sister and I looked at each other. We gave each other the that-sounds-good look and agreed with him.
When we all sat down to give my mom the news, my sister and I looked at each for consolation. My mother sat on the comfy couch in the other soon-to-be abuelita’s home. She didn’t expect what was coming. She thought we were all just going to hang out and chat. But when she found out her fifteen-year-old baby was having a baby, well, she wasn’t exactly excited.
She cried, confused and hurt that she wasn’t the first to know. “How could this happen to my baby, my child? What are we going to do?” she cried.
My sister and I, still immature kids ourselves, would quit looking at our toes and glance at each other, suppressing inappropriate giggles. It all felt surreal. A baby was on the way. A real life baby. It was going to be our baby, the first baby I’d know from birth, the first person I’d love vehemently. Was this really happening?
My mom pushed aside her hurt feelings. She looked on the bright side. “Voy ser abuelita. I’m going to be a grandma,” she smiled. She learned to deal. And, even more, she became happy.
The first few months were the hardest part of the pregnancy. My sister and I, partners in crime, often skipped school together. High school? Psh. Who needs that? The father to-be would usually drop us off in his white Mitsubishi, but by the time we arrived at the intersection leading to the pearly gates of Uniondale High School, right around 7 AM, the morning sickness kicked in. The door would fly open, and vomiting quickly followed.
“So much for school today,” I’d think.
We would drive away and head to his red-brick house just a few blocks from the local library. Sometimes, my sister and I would hide in his closet until his parents left for work. We’d cover ourselves with Jordan-brand hoodies and hide behind shoeboxes. Once his dad opened the closet, but he couldn’t see us. We were ninjas, man.
Eventually, our ninja days came to an end. Teen pregnancy school started. So, my sister and I left our mischievous acts for home instead.
Baby items started crowding our room. She and I shared a room, you see. First came a tiny blue hat crocheted at school. Then came the baby clothes. Before we knew it, a dark brown wooden crib equipped with a changing station popped up, too. It sat right in front of our beds, so we’d see it every night and imagine what was to come.
The belly grew with each day. Its pointy, protruding character signaled to the Latin culture that a boy was on the way. Everyone was right; it was a he. The baby-to-be became more and more real. He started kicking, moving. He wasn’t a human bean anymore. He was a growing human being. He was Adrien Joseph, aka AJ, our little love.
June 12, 2009, his birthday, couldn’t have been more perfect. Labor lasted around five hours. It was all natural, no epidural, nothing for the pain. And him? He was wrinkly and new, pruny and perfect. His chinky eyes told stories of his family history. His long legs were just like his daddy’s. Those three days in the hospital were a breeze. The nurses prepared the bottles. Help was only a push of a button away. Easy-peasy, right?
Sike. Parenting was anything but easy, especially when the parents left the comfort of a hospital. Adrien was a spoiled little jewel. He couldn’t fall asleep without the rocking of warm arms. It didn’t matter that the mobile above his adorable jelly-roll body sung to him. That wasn’t enough.
One night after midnight, his wail of hunger woke me up. I dragged myself out of bed and picked up his fragile little body. I laid him next to me on my bed and fed him until he fell asleep. I fell asleep too. Other days, I’d wipe his butt and throw his diaper into the Diaper Genie. “Reusable diapers may be the way to go,” I’d think every time I added to the trash. He was spoiled, but he was loved.
The late-night cries and smelly diapers were worth it, though. He’s five now and growing quickly. He is the first star student in his class. For fun, he writes. Not stories, just words. He genuinely enjoys learning. “Organic” means something to him, even when it comes to his toothpaste. But my favorite part is his advice. I was moping over an ex some time ago, and he goes, “Why don’t you just go talk to him? Then you’ll be happy.” And he was right.
Everything is still so easy for him. He lives in a world devoid of complication and full of wonder. Sure, it wasn’t always easy for me—and especially not for my sister. Complication comes with a teen pregnancy, but so does wonder.
Every time I see him, I feel joy, pride, and fear. Then, I feel relief. I’m only his aunt, and I love him this much? I can only imagine how my sister feels.