Fifteen. It was a year of self discovery. And angst. An age of knowing that we were smarter than our parents. Couldn’t nobody tell us nothing! We were excited about driving, and moving out and going to college. Just waiting to be grown-legally, because in our minds, at fifteen we already were. Remember that? Makes you laugh now right?
My cousin is fifteen and she has me thinking a lot about my recent youth. It seems like she is so different from me. She’s been exposed to a lot more things than I was in her childhood, and it just seems like she’s lost something that I had at her age. I find myself doing that thing to her that I most hated; smooshing her face until she looks like a little pug dog and telling her how I remember when she was born. When she learned to walk. And talk. And would follow me around wherever I went. Then this segues into me telling her how much she’s grown. Then I realize what I’m doing and I apologize for being corny, but I just can’t help it. And I know it’s annoying to have someone go on and on about growth that is suppose to happen, because I was so annoyed at fifteen. But she doesn’t understand how amazing it is to watch someone not just grow taller, but become a person in the process.
Growing up as an only child I didn’t consult too many folks with my questions. We always lived away from my family so I just had my parents; and I knew that most of the time they couldn’t relate to anything I had to say. Now I feel like it would have been nice to have someone else to talk to about life. So I try to be available for my little cousin. She’s gets on my last damn nerve sometimes though. I won’t go into the hours of conversation I endured in which she discussed, in minute detail, breaking up and getting back together with her little boyfriend. The “drama” she went through-like they were going to get married or something! Arrrgh! (insert my eye roll here)
On Saturday she called me with another tale. She said that she had this friend, who was having sex with her boyfriend and just found out she was pregnant.
“What should she do, she hasn’t told her mom yet?”
Wow. I nearly dropped the phone. You know, because usually when someone is talking about a friend, it’s really them. And I just wasn’t ready to deal with my baby cousin (notice she’s a baby now) having sex. Let alone being pregnant!
But what could be done in this situation I didn’t know. My views on abortion have shifted through the years, but the thought of being a mom at fifteen is an unimaginable reality. And yet I’ve seen the emotional aftermath abortions can wreak. Adoption? To carry a baby to term and give it up. To have that same child hunt you down one day, full of questions and maybe anger. It all seems too much for a young person to have to think about. Too real. Too grown. Especially when the girl’s biggest fear is telling her mom. Not feeding or clothing the baby. Not raising a child to be a productive member of society. Just telling her mom. Arrgh! Kids!
Little cousin assured me that it wasn’t her.
I asked her repeatedly “Are you sure it isn’t you? I mean it’s okay if it is.” It wasn’t though.
“It’s not me! Geez!” Then my aunt started calling her to do something in the background. Little cousin didn’t want to talk about this in front of her mom. Which I could totally understand. As she rushed to get off the phone she said
“So she has to tell her mom right? Even though she’s going to get mad?”
“Of course little cousin, when you do grown up things you have to face the consequences.”
I felt so much older than the 11 years that separate us as I said this. But I was glad she called me, and felt comfortable enough to ask me. The thought of three fifteen year-olds trying to figure out what to do about a baby was scary. At fifteen what do they know? Not a damn thing! But they'll realize that later on, in their twenties.
See You in Seven
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot