Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nice To Meet You

“I can’t do this. I know I can’t do this” Me sitting up in bed, tears of absolute fear and utter panic flowing down my face as I sat, in a puddle in a dark room just down the hall from my mother.

I had been awoken from my sleep, my much coveted and dearly needed sleep. My body resting upon the wad of pillows that I had shoved between me and my sagging, ten year old mattress, trying desperately to alleviate the wretched combination of the worst heartburn I had ever experienced and a pain in my lower back that was akin to having the weight of the world digging its heels in and resting upon my kidneys. I ripped the comfortless comforter off my body to see my legs, the ones that had learned to dance, learned to run and had carried me each and every time I longed to flee…those legs still and wrapped in the pale pink pajama bottoms that I had slipped into before kissing my mother goodnight but now, now the pink was almost peach colored as it clung, wet and slippery against my skin.

I sat in my dark room alone crying. Eighteen, I had just turned eighteen and here I was, wetting the bed. I assumed my loss of bladder control had something to do with the heart stopping fear that I had been living with. The pressure of figuring out what to do, how not to alert my mother that I was doing it and how…how to live with the fact that I was pregnant and in no way ready to raise myself let alone another human. Her voice in my head, that, “If you get pregnant you are on your own” mantra that had been snarled at me for as long as I could remember. As I ripped the saturated sheets off the bed, the pajama bottoms that hung heavy and see-through to my thighs, the dribble of the bathroom faucet as I rested my forearms on the counter and wrung out the washcloth that I would use to clean myself up. “I know I can’t do this” the soundtrack as I wrapped my sink washed bottoms around my fists and twisted with all of my might….

The task of covering up what I had been hiding becoming my mission. If I could just buy myself a little more time I could figure this out. Figure out how to tell her. Tell her that I had messed up but was working on making it better. Showing her all the families that were aching to take the child that I wasn’t ready to care for. So quiet the apartment that night, I could hear my mother and sister snoring, their shifting and heavy breathing and there I was, wet from wrists to ankles, washing up and covering up. My fear and inability to handle this being washed down the sink and hanging over the shower door to dry. A little more time….

The bladder control continued to me by nemesis. The leaking from within and constant reminder of the “situation” I was unwilling to face. The face of my disappointed mother that I was unready to…face. I was guilty of everything she warned me of; falling victim to a predator, being careless with my love, seeking touch and affirmation from places and people that preyed on girls like me. I fell for all of it and now, now I was staring down the barrel actually dealing with, knowing, the life that she had already researched and failed for me. If I had been able to hear her, feel her, our lives would have been very different.

Twenty-two years ago, today, my water broke and thus began the life of a young man that was unwilling to become a statistic and taught me all that I currently know about strength and tenacity. I had not wet the bed that night, Jeremy threw his first punch and that was the first time we met. Me fearful and soaked, him willing to hold his breath until I pulled my head out of my ass and stopped thinking that I was the victim. He spent a week in my body, hanging on and fighting as I stupidly tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. Tried to make my life fit into what others had hoped I would be. 

“I can’t believe he made it” the doctor that delivered Jeremy. A week struggling, kicking and making my back ache even worse as he fought the thick walls that were closing in on him. His fight and unwillingness to quit an inspiration to a just-turned-eighteen-year-old. I thought of myself scouring to cover the “stain” of a late night that got me there, the soaked, dancing legs that barely held me up as I washed myself clean of his first hello. And now, now I can’t imagine that I would be capable of the pride that I own because of him.

I first met my son twenty two years ago today. He got my attention in a way that no one had before. Inspired me to be the woman that you all seem to dig now. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and I know my beloved son gives me far too much. Jeremy, you are the reason I can walk in any room and feel like I matter. If you own nothing else in your life, own that. A freaked out eighteen year old was transformed the second your gasping for air, tiny body emerged from inside me. You were, and are, everything I could have ever dreamed of and I love you more than you can possibly…for now, understand. 

Happy First Day We Met….
I love you.


Benito said...

I haven't had the opportunity to meet your boy yet, but I have a feeling that one of these days our paths will cross, and either he'll need to crash on my couch one night or I'll need to crash on his.

I'm sure the road was hard, and there's probably still a few bumps along the way, but anyone would be lucky to have you as a mom, Sam.

Cheers, and belated happy Mother's Day,

Samantha Dugan said...

Totally made it through this post without tears...until I read this. If my son owns, even one ounce of what I do, well then we are two very lucky people.

Thank you, for everything Ben.

Jeremy said...

You deserve more credit than you can imagine mom. From all the countless stories of teenage mothers giving up their children, and giving the fact that I myself was 18 only 4 years ago, standing up the way you did is more ballsy than anything I have ever done. And for that you deserve it all...

Thomas said...

A friend of mine used to send his mother a thank you card on his birthday--now that's a guy with the right priorities.

Happy birthday, Jeremy.

Mine is just three days away--we are simpatico on the horoscope, and one day will meet; perhaps when your mom comes to visit the Finger Lakes she can have you beside her.

Samantha Dugan said...

There simply cannot be a mother more proud, more in love and more grateful than I. Thank you baby, thank you for everything.

His birthday is in 7 days but it was 22 years ago today that my water broke and I didn't understand what was happening. My youth and fear could have cost me and him in ways I shudder to think of now but....there he is. 22 years old on the 13th and the greatest person I know. Happy early birthday to you sweetheart.

Lisa said...

Beautiful, Sam.

After everything I've heard about Jeremy, I hope I get to know him someday (preferably over a bottle of something wonderful). Your relationship gives me hope for if I ever have a child someday... turns out children CAN be close to their parents! Thank you for that example.

Samantha Dugan said...

Awe, thank you sweet girl. My son and my relationship with him is the single thing I am most proud of in my life. I too hope that someday you are able to feel this....

John M. Kelly said...

Jeremy - you are a great kid to cherish and respect all your mom has done.

Sam - it is a credit to all your spunk and sacrifice that Jeremy turned out so well. Call-o is a lucky guy to love and be loved by you both.

TP - you and I are in the same position: in one week, when I wake up on this side of the grass I will also be a year older. I can only thank my mom in my prayers, but thank her I will.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thanks love. Yup you and My Jeremy share a birthday I'll be sure to whisper my thanks to your mother as well, without her I would never have met such a sweet man.

Joe said...

Newborns- despite their fragile facade- are pretty dang tough. I think that toughness is ingrained to give new parents hope. Hope that they CAN do it.

Now, doing it at 18? That takes some serious damn grit... and I think that's something that has always resonated in your writing (to me, at least).

Thomas said...

I think us July birthday boys ought to have a plan for next year's celebration.

Sam, I goofed; but that doesn't change the horoscope.

Do Bianchi said...

So he's a Cancer like me?! :)

My goodness, Sam, reading this... my goodness... it just made so many emotions and thoughts and fears and joys swell up in my throat...

Knowing you and knowing you as a mother (mainly through the blog) has been an inspiration for me... about love, strength, and love... I'm so glad that today is Jeremy's birthday... (it's also my father in law's! and it's mine next week... and it's also someone else's today...)

I've never had the chance to meet Jeremy but I look forward to it one day... and in the months that lay ahead for me and Tracie P, this post will be swirling around our brains... and our hearts... for all the reasons you know... :)

Happy birthday Jeremy!

Marcia Macomber said...

Wow wow wow! As always, your writing leaves me rather speechless! (Which is why we all have to write out our comments. LOL)

22 yrs. ago and, not surprisingly, it's still as vivid as it is was today to you!

Happy early b-day to Jeremy. And happy memories to you, Samantha!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Hey, I was a bedwetter and got nothing out of it but a rash.

My own opinion is that the only two things that matter in Life are Love and Courage. They are inseparable. You cannot have one without the other. And your post, actually, your life, is filled with both in astonishing abundance

I also believe that friends and loved ones enter your life in order to teach you certain traits, gifts that they possess. You, My Love, have taught me the meaning of Courage, and, by extension, the meaning of Love. I will never be equipped to live up to your example, but your example is the one I turn to often in my own life when I need Courage, or I need to remember how to love, and love selflessly.

Perhaps Jeremy came into your eighteen-year-old life to teach you Hope. You had little at the time, it seems to this outsider, and slowly, through his infant example, he imbued your heart with that priceless gift. We know that he simply mirrored your own Courage.

Happy Birthday to both you and Jeremy. I wasn't born in July, I'm not a Cancer (a matter of opinion), but I was also born on a 13th. To a remarkable Mother like you.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

That was the thing that killed me, how could someone so tiny, (he weighed 3 pounds) be so strong? Still amazes me actually. You are always so kind about my writing and I cannot tell often enough how much that means to me.

I wanna be counted in on those birthday plans!

Jeremy...The Other Jeremy,
He is a Cancer so you share a name and a sign. His birthday is the 13th and if this comment section is any indicator, Cancers are some of the coolest people, ever. You know I always think of you when I write these posts, about the times we have talked about parents and the unbelievably sweet things you have said to me about the job I've done as one. I know that you and Tracie are going to be very strong and loving parents, I just know it.

Didn't think it was that vivid until I just started writing last night. Just sat down to tell a story and out it came. Thank you for the birthday wishes, I shall pass them on.

Ron My Love,
Gawd you humble me. How can you have said all that you already have, been this amazing force and light in my life and still humble me? Remarkable.

You often give me credit for being courageous and I'm still not sure I deserve that really but the fact that I have made you feel as loved and safe as you truly are with me, then I am a very happy woman. I do think Jeremy came in my life just when I needed him most, just like a certain gifted and very funny man did. I know your mother was an astounding woman, she had to be, how else would there be a you? I love you too!

WineNWaves said...

I sell wine to you?

Fucking incredible Sam...WOW - "I was guilty of everything she warned me of"... I've never been pregnant but I've certainly put myself up for sincere disappointment from my ma'.

Luckily, she was strong enough to show me that love, not anger, is how we manage to get through the seeming impossible.

Hahah I'm sitting here prepping the tasting sheet for tomorrow, jaw dropped, aimlessly staring at this article wondering how I got put into this position of working with such an amazing writer.

Blown away, again...

Nick B.

WineNWaves said...

I was solely raised by a single, 4'11, incredibly strong jewish mother. I'm sure, just as I draw the entirety of my strength from the infinite sacrifices she made to raise me right, from the nights I could here her crying herself to sleep and the way she would wake me the next morning with the most beautiful smile and let me know that everything was alright and no matter what she loved me, her refusal to bend or break at the hardships life threw her on daily basis with the ferocious conviction that I would not turn out like my father, your son draws much of his strength from you.

Needless to say, were both lucky to have such strong and beautiful mothers.

K, last comment :)

Samantha Dugan said...

From the first time I sat with you I knew, just knew there was something of a kinship between you and I....after theses comments I think I am beginning to understand why. I was lit up by your young fire, that nervy energy of someone in the business for the same reason as I, and as I told you last time we met, you so remind me of my beloved Eric Mohseni, right down to the wanting to someday make wine. It's rare that fire kiddo, hold on to it and resist the urge to make wine about units and numbers. It's about passion. least for people like you and I and as hard as it gets at times, that passion will serve you well.

Your mother sounds like a woman I would love to meet, would likely admire and am honored to be put in the same class with. Thank you for sharing that with me, for understanding what she did out of absolute love for you. You make her proud Nick, don't even have to meet her to know that...

So what you bringing me to taste tomorrow? (wink)

Samantha Dugan said...

Erm, forgive the typos. Blame the teary eyes and 4th glass of Pastis.

Thomas said...

Four Pastis'?

You are incredible!

chris said...

A mother's unconditional love is a catalyst for her child's character.

Happy Birthday to all July birthday boys.

Samantha Dugan said...

Girl has to be good at something right?!

Beautifully said. Thanks for that.