I've told you all before that I am the daughter of a teen mother. Most often when I share this with people they are surprised. They look at me and somehow expect that I would have been less of a person because of this. They expect that my life would have turned out exactly the way my mom's did. My rebuttal is always the same, young mothers can raise good and successful children if they try.
Let me bring you back. My mom was born in the 60's. Her mother was hard working, her father was a retired navy boxer with a drug problem. She had a little brother with epilepsy who was largely her responsibility after school. Her childhood though challenging had tons of silver linings as my grandma worked hard to make sure they had exactly what they needed at all times. She also gave them a beautiful life of experiences even when their Dad wasn't around.
While navigating her early teen years my mom had fallen pregnant. She was 15 and that first baby was born a little over a month before her 16 birthday. A short time later she was pregnant again. This time at 17, I was born 2 months before her 18th birthday. So at 17 she was the mother of two. Beside all the finger wagging from her family members she also had to raise us alone because our fathers were not in the picture.
Growing up all we knew was love. Unbeknownst to us our mother struggled to care for us. Life was hard but she never complained. She cared for us like it was the best job in the world, and she still does.
All the odds were stacked against her being an African American teen mom and single mother of two. Resources were limited but she always found a way. She worked and was very present at school and home for us. I never felt a lack growing up and if I did I knew it wasn't because of my mother. She did all that she could do and more. In our teen years she pursued a college degree to become a teacher. She completed a bachelors degree and a few months later her masters. As of now she is working on her doctorate degree and married her sweetheart nearly five years ago. She raised both a son and a daughter (me) successfully. Neither of us have been to prison nor did we have children in our teen years like some people assumed we would.
No one expected that she would make so much of her life since she had my brother and I before she was legally an adult but she did. She's educated, a great mother, wife and a new grandmother - I hope she feels accomplished! She's the unlikely champion in our family and we are so very proud of her.
If you'd like to hear more about an unlikely champion check out QUEEN OF KATWE it releases in theaters nationwide on Friday, September 30.