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  • Writer's pictureKaren Andrews

Here We Go Again, NOW WHAT?!

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

We’ve all had a “Now What” moment. You know that moment when reality falls from the sky and hits you upside the head, and you have no clue what to do next. Mine was when they handed me my brand-new son for the first time. Up to that point I had a medical condition called “pregnancy” and I was dealing with it on a day-to-day basis. Sure, I had baby clothes, blankets, diapers, baby wipes, and some formula, even read the books you are supposed to read. But when they handed him to me, reality fell from the sky and hit me upside the head and the condition called Pregnancy ended. All I could say to my new baby was literally, “Now What?!” I had NO idea what to do, and I kept waiting for the hospital to give me a parenting exam...there wasn't one. I was out there by myself with an entire human life depending on me for EVERYTHING!

(WRITER’S NOTE - Go ahead, ask my family, those were my literal first words to my new son. My mother answered me and said, “Honey, talk to him”. He started to cry and I saw his little nose wrinkle up. I said to him, “Don’t cry, I don’t know what to do.” My new son magically recognized my voice, looked up at me and stopped crying. It was downhill from there; I knew I could do “Motherhood”)

Gratefully the person I was then does not exist today. I have changed and grown-and I truly believe the world is a better place because of that. At the time, I felt like a little seed, pounded and crammed underground far away from any daylight and drowning. And like a little seed, I started to sprout upwards with God’s help and guidance. I may not be the most grandiose flower in the garden, but I grew, sprouted, and bloomed into motherhood. I did it the hard way for the simple fact that I had no choice.

To keep a long story short, I wound up a single mother at 2 months pregnant by no choice of my own. I had to relocated 2000 miles, and didn't have much of a support system except for my family - and sometimes that was strained. The same long story impacted the reason there was no child support order. This means I did it financially ALL ON MY OWN.

Luckily, I had an Associate’s Degree which opened a few doors for me, and the pay scale put me just barely over the mark where I could have gotten assistance from any sort of program. If I wanted to provide for my small little family, I was going to have to work extra hard to climb the ladder to attain an even higher pay scale. I was taught that if you can dream it, you can achieve it – if you are willing to put in the effort.

I remember asking my mom when I was about 10 years old or so, how she knew how to be a mother. She gave me the best piece of advice possible, “Always remember you love your child first.”

That became the foundation of my life for the next 20 years. EVERY decision I made was because I remembered and took time to love my child first. Clothes, food, toys, electricity, phone bills, relationships, social life, you name it…I took time to love my child FIRST. And to be honest, I had more fun playing with. him on the swings than I could have ANYONE else in the world. I adhered to the advice an old teacher gave me, that if it wasn't appropriate for a child to go...then I didn't need to go either. We went everywhere together, and I had a blast!

While that worked for life inside the 4 walls of our small rented home, it didn’t help to decide what to do financially. How did I know what job to take, what jobs were worth moving out of town for, and how to make financial decisions for a young small family? This is where my Dad stepped in and gave me the next piece of advice, “There is a certain amount of pride in knowing you can take care of your family.”

Now I realized, I HAD to do this, and if I had to do it on my own, so be it. God will have my back, even if I was unable to file for child support. When he was 6 months old, I found a small rental home for us, and our life started. I even learned how to prepare a meal for 2 people on less that $1.00, and made $25 in groceries last a week.

I worked like a son-of-a-gun for the next 2 decades, and never forgot the advice my parents gave me. I remembered that my son never asked to be here, nor did he have anything to do with any decisions made before he was born. He deserved the VERY BEST I had, because I loved him first.

I scrimped, saved, struggled, and clawed my way through, and eventually wound up in a position to grab 2 more degrees so I could take care of my small family. God provided the people I needed in my life, and those my son needed. I loved every minute of being Momma, and it is by far my greatest accomplishment.

My goal was to raise an adult that had the tools necessary to succeed in life - financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I tried to remember I was raising a future adult, not just a child. I did my best, and God followed up with the rest. God is good, AMAZING as a matter of fact.!

Last weekend was my son's birthday, he is in his 20’s now. He showed me the home he and his girlfriend will be sharing…once it is completed. Yes, a new home. For his birthday, I got him a nice coffee maker. This was the first gift I got for him that had a practical purpose…coffee. I could see a twinge of excitement since it was for his first home, and it was HIS coffee maker. It felt awkward to get him an “adult” gift, he was growing up. His girlfriend even showed me around the future kitchen and explaining what the counter-tops will look like.

It was surreal. As excited and as proud as I was, I hid tears behind my eyes. I guess I did it. This was my sign of a job well done. This was what I had been preparing him for. This is where he starts his life, and he is excited. When you are ready for that first flight out of the nest, it is supposed to be exciting!

While I will always be Mom, my role will change. I can no longer kiss the boo-boos away, no longer talk to the parents of those who upset him, and Happy Meals and a glass of Chocolate Milk were no longer magical reward’s for a job well done. He was grown. I still look at him and hear him say in his little 4 year old voice, "I yove you, Mamma", and he would reach up to me to pick him up.

His girlfriend recently received some unfortunate news and was pretty shook up about it. My son drove 1 ½ hours just to tell her he loved her and let her know he was there for her. He stayed about 20 minutes, and drove 1 ½ hours back. He has grown into the rock on which she can lean on for strength. He can hug her problems away…my son is grown now. And I'm proud he is THAT guy who is there for her.

I stayed the night to see my son and his band perform for a show that night, and drove back home the next morning. When I walked through my front door, once again,

I’ve tried planning what to do with the now spare bedroom, read a few books, even tried picking up a couple new hobbies and reading. But it never seems to prepare you for the inevitable point when reality falls from the sky and hits you upside the head. While I have people whom I love in my life, the day will come when he packs that last bag, heads out of OUR home for the “last time”.

I spoke those 2 words one more time, “Now What?!” I have no idea what to do.

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