Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Letter to My Sister

Dear Lucy,

I always thought that I would be much older when I sat down to write this letter to you. That I might even be old enough to have some actual wisdom to impart to you. I wish your mom was here. That day we sat in the hospice room and said goodbye to her, one of the things I cried about was that when the time came, it would be me and not her who would have to tell you everything. I am a poor substitute.

And, of course, there’s also the fact that I never thought you’d get pregnant like this. I didn’t think you’d be so young. Or so not married. Or so not even owning a car. Or having insurance. I know I can be kind of a ball-busting bitch with horns where you’re concerned. That I’m always like the sister-version of Mike Ditka: “Study harder. Work harder. I said harder! Do more. Reach your potential. You’re better than that!” But it’s only because no one else was telling you those things. No one else seemed to see the awesomeness in you like I do. And no one pushed me, and I wish now they would have because I made a lot of schmidtty choices that I’ve had to live with for a long time.

And I know that my pushy, bossiness made it awful and scary for you to tell me when you were visiting us. You were probably expecting an explosion.  But I hope I was OK about it because as soon as the shock wore off, I realized how much I already loved that teeny, weeny baby in there. And that you were making the right choice. And that you and Charlie will find a way to make this work together. I like him a lot. I can see how much he loves you. And I can see that he has the potential to be an amazing man. It’s just that right now, I look at both of you, and I see kids. Not “kids” in the “you kids and your damn rock-n-roll music” way, but more in the ”you are literally kids and I can’t yet accept you as adults” kind of way. But that has to change, along with a lot of other things.

Even though you didn’t intend to get pregnant, now that you are, I can see that you’re truly happy about it. And I am too. Just as a side note, unintended breeding is sort of rampant in our family. Seriously, until I started trying to get pregnant the first time, I wasn’t sure if anyone in our extended gene pool could successfully plan a pregnancy. So just know this isn’t the first time this has happened, no matter what certain people may try and tell you. How do you think I got here? I suspect it involved red wine.

I’m sort of surprised at the degree to which I’m happy and excited and emotional about this new baby. Especially emotional. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified. I’m scared because I live so far away from you. I’m scared because you’re only twenty. And because Charlie is only twenty. Because in spite of how much you love each other, you have no idea the kind of stress you’ll be under and how easily everything can fall apart.

Please don’t think that The Fear means I’m disappointed in you, because I’m not. I wanted you to go to college right out of high school and live in the dorms and study and learn stuff and drink beer and kiss boys and have a regular experience. For once in your life, I wanted things to be normal for you. I thought that was best. And you did it for a year, and it didn’t work out. One of the hardest parts of parenthood for me has been finally accepting how much is out of my control.

The Fear has more to do with that lack of control, but it also fuels itself on how hard it is to be a mother. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s the hardest thing in the world. And it never stops. It’s relentless and scary and heartbreaking. Last week in church (please don’t roll your eyes), the pastor kept using this phrase: “And still we rise.”
To me, that’s motherhood in four words. No matter what happens to you, you will rise to it.  We do, mostly because we want to...but also because we have to. Sickness, sleep deprivation, divorce, puking, pain, disappointment, betrayal, exhaustion, anger, all of it. Things that, right now, would send you to bed for a week. Or storming out of the house. Or running away as fast as you could run. But you can’t run from these things if you want to be a mom. Lucy, this may be the only thing you’ve ever done that you can’t undo. At least that’s how I felt.

And you may think right now that because Charlie and his family are such good people, who will stand by you and help you, that maybe, possibly, (somewhere deep in the back of your mind) that bailing out is an option, even if only for a brief respite. It is not an option. Once you’re a mom, your world implodes at the mere idea of anyone or anything coming between you – or keeping you apart from - your baby. You have to rise to this. And you will want to rise to this. But you’ll have to be a better person than you thought you were capable of being.  And that was another one that was hard for me to learn. You’ve got to be tougher and stronger and kinder and better than you have ever been.  And you have to be that way every day.

I remember being seven months pregnant with Hawk. And I had a one-year old. And that one-year old had brought home the stomach flu for the second time in three weeks. I had been puking for two days straight, and it was three in the morning. I was just falling asleep, and she started crying. And I remember thinking that I had never been worse off. I could barely stand. But I got up and changed her diaper and gave her some water. And I didn’t think I would make it through the night, I was so sick and worn out and huge. And still we rise.

But you already know that. A year after your mom died, you told me that when the worst thing you can imagine actually happens, it’s sort of freeing. You already know that you can give in to the sadness or flip it the bird and keep going. You can rise above it. You’ve already been to some really dark and bad places and walked through them bravely.

I truly think you’ll be an amazing mom. I had hoped you’d wait until you were older and knew yourself more and were willing to give up all the things that parenthood requires of you. But enough about that. It doesn’t matter anymore. You’ll learn who you are as a mom. A lot of amazing women have done it that way. My mom, for one. My friend Ellen got married and had her first baby at the same age as you are now.  And look at her - she's a total bad ass.

What matters is what’s going on right now. And even if this is a little early and unexpected, no matter when you have your babies – you always end up with the kids you were meant to have. I was meant to have my three little terror suspects. They were supposed to be mine. So if you ever wonder about the timing, just know that this little person is supposed to be in our family. And now that I’ve met Charlie – I know that this baby is going to beautiful. She’s going to look like you, and him, and my kids, and your mom. And I can’t wait to meet her.

I have no idea why I keep saying her. You said it so now I say it. It makes her real. It makes her part of us. And I already love her so much. Even if she’s a boy.

xo, Lydia

PS: There’s one thing I’m pissed about. Last month when you were here, we downloaded a bunch of songs and giggled over them stupidly and you told me how much you loved Katy Perry’s “Firework” and how that was your current favorite. And then all this came out and you left and the song came on in the van and I actually listened to it and I started ugly crying. Over a Katy Perry song. The kids were like: “Mommy? Whuck is wrong with you?!” And to this day, when I hear that damn song – I silently weep, shoulders heaving and nose running and my five-year old rolls his eyes at me. Damn you and Katy Perry.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. Well said, Auntie Lydia, well said. But, you forgot to tell Lucy that her new little one is stinkin' blessed to have such a spectacular aunt! Congrats to all of you! (Please tell Lucy that I had my first when I was 22. I was married, but we had no insurance. It worked out just fine precisely because we were young and stupid. Wait. DON'T tell her that.)

  2. *wild applause!*

    This was amazing. She is so lucky to have you for a sister. Damn you and Katy Perry indeed!

  3. Lydia, this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read! Your sister is a very lucky girl to have someone like you in her life. An enormous CONGRATULATIONS to her and her boyfriend!

  4. Thats beautiful. I am sure it will all work out in the end and I am sure she will be an amazing mother and you an amazing aunty. Cultural differences show up here! Its normal for us in Saudi to get married young. In my mother's generation many got married at 17 or 18 and were mothers byt 19 or 20. But we always lived near or with our families so we go with the "it takes a village" way of things. I was married at 22 and had my first baby at 23. It's doable. It's a shame you don't live near each other but it's great that her father's family will be there to help. BEST OF LUCK WITH EVERYTHING! I think it will be great cause when she is 40 her baby will be 20! they will have such a close relationship.

  5. OMG, this had me crying, Lydia! I wish I had a big sister like you instead of three big brothers! You are an awesome mom and big sister.

    1. Just know that your three big brothers feel the same about you and would protect you through anything....they just don't say it. =)

  6. Oh Lydia...

    I've been a long time reader of yours. I am also a 23 year old with a 21 month old daughter. I'll let you skip the math because for the LOVE OF MAUDE it's early- but that means I too, was 20 years old when I got pregnant. I "celebrated" my 21st birthday newly pregnant. I was not married. I was still in college.

    This letter was beautiful. As someone who had very little support from anyone when I first became pregnant- just one person reacting in this way would have saved me a lot of heartache, tears and crushing and overwhelming guilt.

    I sat here with tears streaming because this reminded me just how far I'd come. You're right- my daughter found me. She saved my life. I mean, I was a good kid (minus the extra-maritial stupid sex thing and the occasional college keg party thing) but I was so...selfish. Young.

    The good news? I finished college (ON TIME). I'm currently THIS CLOSE to finishing graduate school for speech language pathology. And while I still have my own dreams , they are wrapped up in one beautiful, incredible tiny cupcake baked by the devil, and my dreams for her.

    Your sister will struggle. But not in a way that is so different from the way every new parent struggles. People will pass judgements- but, it sounds to me like she is stronger than I could ever be & will probably do a much better job flipping them the bird. She will lose friends- but the people that chose to stick around? They are flippin' awesome.

    Thank you for articulating this so perfectly. I understand now, why my own mother cried when I told her I was pregnant (and I'm talking...ugly tears). Thank you for being honest, because all you've said is true. Most of all, thank you for putting unconditional love in to practice- trust me, these words will mean so much to your sister, who, I imagine, is (rightfully so) absolutely terrified.

    Also, I'm convinced your daughter & mine could accomplish evil world domination together- so lets make sure they never find themselves in the same state, ok? It's a matter of national security.

  7. Wow. You have perfectly articulated what I've always had trouble explaining to my child-less friends: that being a mom means you rise above every negative, self-destructive impulse you've ever had. You sacrifice. You fight. And when that little head falls asleep on your chest after two days of non-sop vomiting, you win.

    Being a motherless daughter can be scary. But being a motherless mother is downright terrifying sometimes. Lucy is blessed to have you to guide her through this, step by step, starting with this letter. You are amazing, Lydia!

  8. This is beautiful...sums up the fear, worry and excitement perfectly! I'm sure your sister will rise above. Hell, I'm 38 with my first child 9 months old and I wasn't sure I was mature enough to handle becoming a mom! LOL But I am...cause I had to be. And my daughter is the most important thing in my life. And your sister will be the same way. And she's got a fabulous big sister to help her along the way!

  9. What a lovely gift you've given to your sister in this letter.

    Thank you for sharing it with everyone.

  10. That's a beautiful letter. God bless.

  11. This letter is SUCH a beautifully written one..and it is a that I wish I had received when at 23 I was pregnant and marrying the wonderful man who is father to all 6 of my children. Instead I got recriminations that will be in my head forever. Reading your letter to Lucy made me cry...happy tears for the supportive sister you are, and for the loving family she is bringing her baby into. Thank you to you and Lucy for sharing this!!

    Oh, and congrats!! I miss having babies around!

  12. Lydia, dang it, I'm getting all weepy. It's too early for this bullhonky.
    My son is 10 months old - when I got pregnant, I had just moved in with my boyfriend and we were unmarried and had no insurance. His family was very supportive - bought me pants for how fat i was going to get and everything. My family basically threw a poop-fit and refused to speak to me for a few months.
    It was the worst time in my life and my mother refused to help me through it. I wish I had a big sister like you to tell me everything.

  13. I wish that someone, ANYONE in my life had been half as supportive when I had my first baby.

    I was 6 days past my 19th birthday when I had my oldest child. She just turned 16. It was rough, especially when her biological father decided he "just wasn't ready" to be a father and walked away. But things worked out. I went to school, I married a pretty awesome man who adopted my awesome baby girl (I teased him that he married me for her!) and we have gone on to add 4 more children to our family.

    It will be hard. There will be days that she will want to run away, but having a little person dependent on you DOES make you rise above. I know that even if it meant I had to go through it all again, I would, in order to have my sweet girl. She's pretty great - even if she is 16!!

  14. Thank you for sharing this. I had my daughter when I was 21, still in college, and unmarried. I wish this is how my mother had responded when I told her, instead of telling me to have an abortion. Now I have a rock-star career, I'm married to a fabulous Cap'n, my cherub is growing into a beautiful and open-hearted young lady. You're so right - we young mothers can be badass, and your sister surely will rise to that challenge.

  15. Gee thanks, now I'm gonna have to cry every time I hear Firework...LOL! Truly though, this letter is amazing. Thank you for sharing something so very personal with us!

  16. just beautiful. thanks for sharing. many hopes and good wishes to your sister.

  17. That letter to Lucy oozed Actual Wisdom. You got what it takes, lady! Lucy is a lucky sister! Sure wish I got a letter like this when I was a 23 yr old single mom who looked 16 and got the pitiful "look at the poor unwed teenager" looks every time I went to the mall with the soon to be 21 yr old in the stroller. You rock! Thanks for letting us in on it.

    @JustineL - Your baby is one lucky baby, too. To have a mommy like you!

    I'm going to go weep happy tears in my coffee now.

  18. What made me cry while reading this (at work, so thanks) is that I waited to have my baby. I thought I had everything in place and, as it turns out, nothing was as I thought it was. Baby daddy wasn't the man I thought he was and cancelled our wedding during my maternity leave and broke up with me after I got laid off from my job (and continues to play games but whatever). But my son kept me going. I had to be strong for him even if I couldn't be strong for myself. It's amazing what kids do for us, isn't it? I wouldn't trade any of it. I'll take the heartache b/c the joy he gives me overrides the bad and I'm a better and stronger person b/c of him.
    P.S. What a wonderful sister you are.

  19. My baby sister got pregnant at 17. She had at least, graduated high school at 16. My mom called to tell me (in TOTAL DRAMA mode) and I mustered the intelligence through the fear and excitement to simply reply "I'm gonna be an AUNT!" I then hung up the phone and called my sister who was excited and terrified, and...wasn't sure who the father was (the ex or the new bf). (At least Lucy's got that going for her!) Turns out that beautiful 7 1/2 year old is the biggest blessing any of us could have gotten, even Drama Queen grandma. Love to you, Lucy, and the new her!

  20. i was young (newly 24) and unmarried when i got pregnant. i had only been dating my husband for 6 months when the happy accident happened. it was hard for the first year or so. i thought i would be a single mom but her father came around. he and i fought nonstop once he decided to stay. we were pressured to get married by most of those around us, which did not help the situation at all. we eventually figured it out, got married and had another beautiful daughter. my daughter will be 10 in a couple weeks and i can't imagine what my life would be without her. things always find a way to work out, but that doesn't mean that it's always easy. i wish your sister the best of luck. she has a wonderful supporter in you.

  21. Thank you for posting this. "and still we rise" will be my status for today. You are an amazing sister and mother. And don't be embarrassed about crying over KP's Firework because when I saw the video I did the ugly cry too! I hate the ugly cry!

  22. Good for you Lydia!! Except you totally made me cry!!!
    Congrats to Lucy and Charlie!! I got married at 19 and had a planned baby at 20. My parents just about lost their minds but that baby is turning 13 this month and her and her 3 brothers have parents who love them and each other. Sure it was hard at times but like you said- you rise. You don't look for an out and you rise again! They may not have everything their friends have, and I may have put off school and career for them but it's all good! And you know starting with nothing means when the little terror suspects poor juice on the 3rd hand couch you don't care so much. I have friends that had it all and then had to "give it up" for their kids and freak about the upholstery (that looks wrong) and are just starting with sleepless nights after sleeping 8 solid hours for a decade. Nope, I don't regret a thing!!!!! Now I can think about getting a new couch, traveling with their dad (the love of my life) and getting a good nights sleep 90% of the time!!

  23. Beautiful letter Lydia. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I got pregnant when I was 17, married a year later. Now I have a three year old and Im about to celebrate my third wedding anniversary. Getting pregnant when you're young is scary and harder than anyone could ever imagine. Granted 20 is different than 17 but its still young. The party days are over. Going out whenever you want is over. I stay home with my son and Im a full time student. My "alone time" consist of going to walmart or going to borders to buy a book. Your sister is so lucky to have you in her life. Its a long scary road that she's on now but show her that there is a light at the end of the road. Its hard but I have no doubt that she'll be an amazing mother. Congrats Auntie!!

  24. I became a mom at 17.. I was not a bad kid , I ust made some adult like choices.. i had a very beautiful girl. she is 10 now and has 2 brothers.. i love all 3 of my kids! When people ask me if i could go back and change when i had my daughter i always say No.. she was ment to come inmy life when she did and i wouldnt change that for the world!

    Thank you for sharing your letter.. I never had a sister but i have many girl friends that i call my sisters!

  25. Hmm... At 33, I thought I was Never going to get married, was about to FINALLY graduate college after realizing that even TEN YEARS as a preschool teacher was Never going to make me able to afford a home of ANY kind and always live in poverty... I met my husband. And 4 months later, we were pregnant. Oops. Young or not, it happens at every age and it's ALWAYS terrifying. ALWAYS. I was terrified bc I didn't know if our relationship would last and how would I do it alone, etc? In the end, even if we HADN'T gotten married(we did), I would NEVER,EVER EVER regret the IHP who is currently grasping at me and whining for who-knows-what in his little 2yr old voice. To borrow a line I heard somewhere... My life began the day he was born. The world became full of light I never saw before he looked at me and I would do ANYthing in this world for him, including allowing him to grow up someday and leave me;0) My Mom always says that babies, no matter when or how, are a Blessing. ALWAYS good;0) Congrats to ya'll!!!!! And little sis? Welcome to The Fear. It's way harsh, I'm not gonna lie. LOL

  26. I am one of those people who believes the universe has a way of telling us things. Remember that day you blogged about, where you were ready to lose your schmidt any moment, then you pulled out Lucy's mom's sunglasses instead of your own from your purse? And then glorious clogs appeared on your doorstep from Kate? Well, maybe that was Lucy's mom or the universe reminding you that they need you. That Lucy needs you. I'm sure Lucy's mom would be proud to have you as a mothering influence for her.

  27. You got it so right Lydia. Motherhood is tough going. I think part of why my labor was such a bitch was to prepare me. So far nothing - not even Mommy, Daddy and Baby (projectile vomiting) all with the stomach flu - has been as bad. You rise alright, trying not to puke or pass out while changing a diaper.

    I got pregnant at 40 after 8 years (most of which were spent with a man I eventually divorced) of wanting a baby. My beautiful "perfect" home, "stable" marriage and 20-year career were all gone in a general life implosion before the blessed event, which occurred when I was unemployed and unmarried. My mom was totally weirded out because I was so OLD and she'd totally given up on grandkids (sis is a career-oriented lesbian and bro is child-phobic). The babe, nearly 2, lives with her father and me and is the light of all our lives. I stay-at-home with no career to interfere with my motherly devotion and could care less if she pukes on or eats my once-pristine, post-divorce living room furniture. :)

  28. This was beautiful Lydia and moved me very much. Lucy has a tough path ahead of her, but she will be fine and the baby will be fine. She already has a wonderful support system in place which is so important. I wish Lucy and the baby the best of luck and I know you will guide her well.

  29. Oh Lydia, have mercy, but you need to put this letter next to the stirrups at the gynos office! You said what needed to be said and left out the stuff that needs to wait until all this other stuff can be absorbed. You have a gift! I've been there with my sister when she was young and I'm still more like a mom than a sister to my sisters, and so very much relate to this. Supporting someone through scary stuff is brave and generous because so many others just flee the scene because they don't want to deal. I have to go fix my ugly face now and re-do my make-up. Thanks!

  30. What an awesome letter to your sister. I'm sure it made her cry even more than I am now. Every new mom, but especially young ones, should get such staunch support. She is very lucky to have you for a sister because she can know that no matter what happens, you'll be in her corner. And that is truly something.

  31. awwww Lydia! What a rockin', awesome sister you are. Lucy is SO lucky to have you. Support like this, from such an important part of her life, will make all the difference in her world.

    I have tears in my eyes from reading this....

    I was barely 21 when I met my husband, we'd only been dating for about 4 months when I found out I was pregnant.... our surprise will be 13 years old in two weeks and will be married for 13 years in July. We have three beautiful daughters now....

    No matter how life plays out for Lucy and Charlie, she's lucky to have a great sister like you.

    p.s..... I LOVE being an auntie!!! It's so much to spoil them and then send them back to our siblings. Mwahhahhaaaaaa

  32. I can't even put into words how wonderful and beautiful and heartbreakingly perfect this letter is. I hope that if I'm ever in your shoes, I can write (or say) something that truly conveys the joy and the fear and the hope and the worry so well. And damn you all, now I'm going to cry every time I hear that song too...

    Congratulations, Lucy and Charlie! Congratulations, Aunt Lydia!
    Can't wait to hear about the Littlest Firework!

  33. I have to echo everything that everyone has said here.

    Lydia, sometimes you are the last person to realize you are wise beyond belief (another gift from becoming a mom). We have known it for a while now!

    Lucy, you will be an amazing mom. I suspect that you already know how important family is, even if some members are far away. It only becomes more important as you add new little people to the mix. Good Luck!

    I totally agree that our kids find us for a reason. There are lessons that we need to learn that only our children can teach us. I had to remind myself of that during the struggle to get pregnant. I know I had the baby I was meant to have.

  34. Way to go, Lydia. Not everyone has the presence of mind to do for your sister what you did. You know the funny thing? I waited to have my kids. I graduated college, got married, went to grad school, graduated, got a job, bought a house, and then had kids. Now that I'm chasing around a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old -- and find myself desperately trying to catch up and catch my breath -- I realize how much more energy I had when I was 20, and how much easier it would have been to chase them if I'd just gone ahead and had them when I was waaay younger. LOL. And the challenges aren't any less regardless of when you have your children. They're just different. Good luck to her. As parents, we all need all the luck we can get!!

  35. This really spoke to me on so many levels. At 20 I quit college to take a break and never went back. I was constantly reminded by my family about not reaching my potential and all that. At 31 I still hadn't gone back to college. I was a bartender, single, broke, living tip jar to tip jar in a dead end town and I got pregnant. After my son was born i moved to Los Angeles into my parents' home to get my life in order. I now have an amazing 4 year old autistic boy and i just finished my bachelor's degree last month. Every day I am tested and every day I question all the choices and bad moves that I have made. But in the end I realize that all the wrong turns I took led me straight to my son. My son helps me learn every day about what kind of mother I want to be and what kind of mother I need to be. He wasn't born under the best of circumstances, but I wouldn't have it any other way. He is the exact child I was supposed to have, and I had hime exactly at the time I needed him most. Congratulations Lydia on the newest addition to your family. And Congratulations Lucy as you embark on this scary and incredibly rewarding adventure.

  36. This letter sounds like something I would have written to my sister. Only difference is my sister was married and a little older. But I don't think she was ready to be a mom. Baby is here and I am still not convinced. I worry about her, her marriage, and the baby. I think she makes her choices based off what everyone around her is doing not what is best for her. Now because I am the big sister and have 3 kids and have been married and now divorced I know more and feel I am better and I want to fix things for her but know I can't and that she has to learn the lessons no matter how much they may hurt

  37. Wonderful. And BTW, damn you AND Katy Perry. Where are my f-ing tissues?!?

  38. Beautifully articulated! I was 24 and had been married two years already when I found out I was pregnant with my first child; called my mother crying: "Momma, I am not ready! I am too young to be a mother." Her response: "If everyone waited until they were ready, the population would dwindle and eventually die out."

    Lucy, I do not believe in luck, so I pray that you will be work hard and be blessed. And you can roll your eyes at that, too, but I will pray anyway! :)

  39. Lydia, you are so much smarter than you give yourself credit for. I am sending good wishes to your sister and her baby.

  40. Love this letter... It's pretty powerful.

  41. Wonderfully, beautifully, even elegantly articulated Lydia, dear. Thanks for letting us share a tender moment with you, and for spreading hope instead of negativity. Lucy and her baby are so lucky to have you around.

    Damn my overactive tear ducts... And Katy Perry.

  42. This was timely...I found out my little sister was pregnant last night. She's 17.

  43. Life works itself out. I was 21 when I got pregnant with my first. I'm now 25, mother of two, and have matured at least 32 years worth in the last three and a half. She'll do great.

  44. Great Letter!!!
    It will be hard for her. I was pregnant at 19, single mom in the military is probably the scariest & hardest thing on the planet. But I made it work until I met my husband. I am currently 25. I have my own home, 3 kids and a college degree. She will have to make MANY hard choices and sacrifices, but she can and will make it. Good luck to her and her new baby :) Congrats to you!!

  45. I had my first boy at 22, as a single mother with a psychopath for a baby daddy. I worked on my feet up until the day I went into labor... and had to go back to the same grinding job when he was just six weeks old. I don't remember those first few months. BUT, what I DO remember: falling so deeply in love that I couldn't pull myself out of it (and I had thought I would end up hating and resenting my son), his laugh, pudgy fingers, and my knowing that HE was where I was supposed to be. It does get better, sometimes- three years later, at age 25, I have two boys and am married (to someone else- someone wonderful!) and finishing my arts degree at an Ivy League school. I went through hell first- waiting tables and a custody case and restraining orders and depression and more. But things even out eventually. I don't know anyone for whom they don't, given enough time. Hang in there, both of you!

  46. Oh, and my mother got married at 17 (fresh out of high school), moved completely across the country to go to college, had my sister at 19 years old, me at 27 (and I was the FOURTH child), graduated from college on time as the valedictorian (with two children), and went to grad school when I was just four. My parents are STILL married, over thirty years later. There's no telling.

  47. ....AND it will be the best thing either of them have ever done. I never wanted to be a mom, but now that I am - I'm living the exact life I never knew I always wanted. :) And damn you, Lydia B. Coupon for making me cry! You SNITCH!

  48. I am a friend of Lucy and Charlie. This came as a complete shock to me. Another friend of ours showed me this and it was one of the most beautiful pieces of writing that i have ever read. I have a younger sister and I pray that I can be as great of big sister as you are to Lucy. Lucy and I are not as close as we were a few months ago but she was someone a grew close to fast, she has not told us about this yet and I hope that she will come by soon and tell me and the rest of our friends so we can be their for her when she needs us. I feel that she will be a great mother and I hope I am able to meet the little one.
    one other thing, we most on the fact that we both lost significant people in out lives- "when the worst thing you can imagine actually happens, it’s sort of freeing. You already know that you can give in to the sadness or flip it the bird and keep going. You can rise above it."- this is one of the most inspirational quotes I have ever ready and it is Lucy to the last drop. I hope I am able to see her soon.

  49. Oh wow...sniffle. This has to be one of the most beautiful posts that you've ever had here. What a perfect letter about being a mom...from "The Fear" to "and still we rise", to those badass moms that came from difficult challenges and are doing a great job raising their kids. I pray that Lucy and Charlie do a great job as parents, and appreciate the amazing gift you are to them and that you will be to their little one! God bless you all.

  50. Wow, that was an awesome letter. A friend of mine got pregnant the very first time she had sex at 18. She kept the baby and lived with her parents. She met a wonderful man and they married a few years later. The thing is - she had some health problems and was never able to get pregnant again. What a lucky wonderful unplanned baby. Truth be told, they all are.

  51. I'm currently 28. 12 years ago on the 15th of this month, I had *my* little girl. Pregnant at 15 and full time mom and high school/home school student at 16; I read this and I'm sitting here crying.

    That little girl (now twelve, and very similar to descriptions of McGee, haha) now has a 5 year old brother. I'm a divorced mama of two, running my own business, & attending school full time for my Bachelor of Science in Bio-Medical Engineering. There are days I'd swear to you I will break, and adding in 2010's massive onslaught of the deepest my depression has ever drug me to, I find myself responding to comments of "I don't know how you do it!" with "HA! Yeah, me either!".

    My daughter in particular has reached a point where she *gets* how young I was when I had her. A year or so ago, the questions began; she wanted to know more about me, herself, and the choices I made. I have always held to be honest with kids, and while I don't glorify the hell that motherhood can be in the worst moments(regardless, quite frankly, of age), I am just as passionate in expressing the millions of wonders my kids reveal to me regularly. :)

    Above all, what I've always stressed to my daughter is that - oh hell was hard, and it *was* a lot harder being so young, but she is also told and knows, that she has always been wanted; from the second she was known about, she has been treasured and loved and worth it.

    I don't even know why I'm rambling...this post just got to me. Being a mother is hard as hell...and being young to boot is rather like doing the "Shred" immediately following a root canal without anesthetic and recently fractured extremeties. Haha :p

    Any parent, but young ones in particular, will hear how unprepared they are from many people within their world. To see such unyeilding belief shown in a young parents' self is...more than touching...I can't find the words to portray what I mean, but I suspect you know. :-)

    The words: "...and still we rise" hit my soul in a way no words have in a long time. I suppose *that* perhaps is a lot of what hit me in this post.
    ...So for that, and for sharing your solid belief in Lucy...Thank You. :-)

  52. As so many before me have said, a truly beautiful and touching post. I was 23 when I learned that my 19 year old "baby sister" was pregnant. She was halfway through her second year of college, living 1000 miles away, and had only been dating the father (who was 8 months younger than her) for 5 months. I just sat in my room and cried because I was so scared for her.

    Flash forward 7 years - my sister has been happily married for 6 years, has an amazing 6 1/2 year old son who is smart as a whip, and a beautiful 2 year old daughter, and finished school. She grew in ways that I could never have imagined and I am still amazed at the strength that she displayed during that first challenging year. She is an amazing mom and I routinely turn to her for advice. Looking back now, I could never imagine life without my awesome nephew and I am sure you will feel the same way about your new niece or nephew. A beautiful display of grace by you.

  53. Beautiful letter!

    I've done it both ways.... first one a month after I turned 22 (ok so I was 2years older.... I was also just finished 2nd yr college) and my second at 38 1/2 ..... Babies come when they are supposed to.

    Young mom's have the advantage of energy and rolling with the punches. They "deal" because they don't know what to expect. "Older" mom's have the advantage of security (usually) and knowing that "and this to shall pass".
    Personally, I found motherhood "easier" when I was a young single mom scrambling to keep a roof over our heads than I do now with my dependable spouse and a paid-for roof.
    "and still we rise" *sigh*

  54. best sister letter EVER! I couldn't say this to my sister, and she's 30, and survived cancer and had a baby that almost killed her (literally). Brave and fab.

  55. Stoney and Alyssa's MamaAugust 11, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    I had my first baby when I was 21. I was married to an emotionally and physically abusive man. My son became my entire world. He was my escape from everything, my security blanket. It's amazing what you can overcome and sacrifice when you are a mother. I divorced that man to save myself and my son. Three years later I have a wonderfully supportive boyfriend. We have a 1 year old and a baby on the way. Ten years ago I never imagined I could be so happy, carefree and loved. My son and I have a bond that can't be broken. I have encountered judgement of all kinds because I'm not married to this man and I'm broke. I figure it out day to day sometimes,
    but I wouldn't take back a single moment. I don't regret a single decision. Your sister will be an AWESOME mom and the support she receives from you makes her world, I would bet. You are an amazing sister. She is lucky to have you :)

  56. That was extremely lovely in both its words and generosity of spirit. Lucy is lucky to have something she can keep forever that will remind her that there is always someone who loves her and believes in her no matter what.

    I am sure your kindness and support are exactly what her mother would have wanted to offer Lucy herself if she could.

    Congratulations on your new family member!


  57. I was 20, unwed, and scraping by when I got pregnant with my daughter, now 13. My mother"s response, when I told her- "HOW could you let this happen?" As if I got knocked up to get at her. My oldest sister's response in sing song "we're gonna have a baby!" No matter what has happened in my life, good, bad, indifferent, my sisters have been my support, my crutches, and if needed, my shoulders to cry on, and always my biggest fans.
    My unplanned daughter was the God's honest best thing that could have ever happened to me. I grew up. I had to. I never for a single moment regret having her (and now her 2 year old brother -yikes age difference lol). I also can never express to my sisters how grateful I am to have always had them when support was lacking from other family and "friends".
    Bless you Lydia for being there for your sister. She will never forget it. You are lucky to have each other. Things will not be easy for them, but life is not easy. She'll be a great mom, and you will be one of the coolest aunts EVER! Congrats on the new up and coming member of your family!

  58. I'm sitting here weeping as I read this letter. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones or maybe because I was Lucy when I was 20. I had been dating my boyfriend for 3 months and ended up pregnant. I think my mom felt a lot like this. It most certainly did not work out with my daughter's dad and he hasn't even bothered to see her since she was two. None of that matters because having her knocked me right back on track from where I was heading into a bad bad place. She changed my life dramatically both directly and indirectly. It was extremely hard and plain sucky and at times very depressing to be a single mom but we had the limitless support of my parents who love that kid more than they ever loved me or my brother :-) and I have the most wonderful, loving, beautiful 8 year old, who is my reason to breath, get up every morning, and rise. I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be. Now I'm very recently married, pregnant with my 2nd baby a month later, and living with my parents again because we are broke and my marriage to "mr right" is falling apart. Basically, back in the same place I worked so hard to get from the first time. I know that no matter what happens this baby too was meant for me, and I will get through this. That Katy Perry song has always choked me up and now thanks to YOU I will ugly cry. Congratulations to your sister and to you!!!!

  59. Errm, Lydia, if you wanna ugly cry to another song (not sure of your stance on country), listen to God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton. Its a couple's song, but the chorus made me think of my sister and my wonderful crazy kids. Oh yeah and Blake Shelton is not hard on the eyes either lol

  60. Beautiful! And please, New Mommy(of ANY age) seek solace in those that have been there before. We will not laugh and say, "Just wait until...". We will not judge you for driving home with a naked baby because they poo'd in their last outfit. We will never allow you to feel "less than" because somedays you just cry. We will also share your joy and the smallest, yet most monumental accomplishments like when your kid learns to fasten their own seatbelt. And yes, when YOUR baby starts to crawl, it will seem like they are the First Baby Ever to figure it out. Other Mommyfriends will pop a bottle of bubbly with you! (You may soon find that non-mom friends simply don't share your penchant for poop talk. And that's ok, too.)

    Oh, and as so often gets forgotten for Mommies who come to the role in something other than Society's Ideal: CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  61. OMG. I was just redirected here by the link at the end of your Pool Crawl post and I am ugly crying in my office. at 8:11 AM. On a Friday. (I'm sure my coworkers think I'm nuts, but that's fine.) This is BEAUTIFUL and I think something like this should be given to every young woman that finds herself in this situation. Unexpectedly pregnant and cautiously ready to take on the world. It's wonderful.




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