This I Believe

Ashlee - Pendleton, Oregon
Entered on January 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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What does family mean to you? The dictionary defines it as 1.parents and their children, 2.the members of one household, and 3.a group of persons related by blood or marriage. Now, the things are all true; however, for me family has a much deeper meaning. It is the shared values and beliefs. It is the unconditional love and never ending support. It is the help of carrying heavy burdens. It is the traditions that are passed from generation to generation. It can be underestimated. Today I will share my story.

I always knew that if I were to get pregnant as a teenage, my family would be there for me. I believed that, until I got pregnant. I was afraid and read into all the stereotypes about teen pregnancy and applied them to my own situation. I let my fear take over, so I never told my parents that I was pregnant. I even had myself in denial. I had severely underestimated my family and the value they hold. After nine months, I finally told my mom two hours before my son was born, and even then I was still afraid. I didn’t know what would happen or how I would be treated.

The reaction I got was the complete opposite of what I had expected, but I knew that part of my fear was warranted. I did get criticized and put down by my aunt, the one person I had looked up to the most. I know that my grandmother had and I think she still has some doubts about my ability to be a parent. My parents and my grandfather were my biggest supporters and they knew that I could do everything I said I wanted to do. My parents still support me fully, and my grandfather did what he could to support me until the day he died. I know that even now, he would be very proud of me and everything I have accomplished.

Life is short and we should have more faith in the things we have everyday, especially our families. I learned the hardest lesson when I was pregnant, and I came to realize that my family is the best support system I could ever have. Don’t make the same mistake I did and underestimate the things you have. You never know when those things will be gone, and I never did have a chance to tell my grandfather how much I appreciated the support and confidence he had in me.