Saturday, June 23, 2012

Samantha's Graduation

Today marked another special day here in Marksville. Last year when Samantha told us she might be pregnant, we sat down and had a talk about what her furture could be like. First thing she said was that she didn't want to be like her Aunt. I do have to say that made me very proud in deed. She sure has the determination of a Graham in her.

Abortion and Adoption were NEVER an option, quitting school was not in the cards, leaving us just to figure out what our choices were after this. Now years ago when Dennis and I decided to have 6 kids, we knew there was a chance that we would have a child go through teen pregnancy and planned on how we would deal with it, so we already had a plan in motion if we ever needed it. This I would encourage you to do if you already haven't think ahead about what might happen and plan accordingly. Of course with that said we still made plenty of mistakes over the years raising our kids, but so far they aren't that bad, and are making their way in life.

One of the first things I did was contact Samantha's teacher's and the rest of the staff, telling them she was pregnant, would be staying in school, and that no one was to speak ill of her pregnancy. I did find out one of the staff had talked another student in getting an abortion. I told that staff person right out that if I even had a wiff that they said anything but positive things to my daughter that I would make sure they not only lost their job, but could never work in their field again. A teen mother can have a positive experience if given the right support network.

One of the first things we found out is that they didn't have a Physical Education Program for pregnant mom's. The school's way of dealing with it was to have them sit it out on the sidelines. Samantha's Dr. agreed with me, that this just was not right, and since Samantha wanted to stay active, remember she is a runner, I had to make call after call so that they provided Samantha with things that were appropriate for each stage of her pregnancy. They did O.K, but really Samantha was not the first teen pregnancy, and certainly won't be the last and that I know of they still don't have a plan B, but only did this for her because we pushed so much.

As Samantha's pregnancy continued she had the support from most of her friends and family the whole time, oh there were those who thought she would quit once she had the baby, and some that even thought she would quit before the baby even came, but she didn't. When she went on maternity leave from school we had a great tutor, that was very supportive of her, and made sure she had all of her work done and turned in on time, even getting ahead so when she went in labor she wouldn't fall behind.

The time came and Lilly was born, she continued with her Tutor, while learning to nurse Lilly, and even went to the school to take her exams, even though she was offered to hold off on some of them till the next year. When last school year was over for some reason some thought she wouldn't return in the fall. Well guess what? She did.

Breastfeeding was something I did, and had hoped Samantha would do but it was her choice. When she was little when her friends were feeding their baby dolls bottles, she was lifing up her shirt and breastfeeding hers. With that being said she took to it like water and was determined to see it through, sore nipples and all.

She was the first teenager to enter our school needing a breastfeeding room, which they did not have, so she spent most of the school year in a room off of the nurses office. At first the nurse didn't really talk to her, and when she told the nurse she needed to come twice a day, because Lilly needed more milk, she wasn't happy at all, but by May when Samantha was weaning Lilly, they were talking and getting along.

Now back before this year began we got a call wondering if Samantha was returning to school, in which we said yes, and when we also told them she was going on the Senior Trip we got a surprised look. Samantha and I worked really hard to get her into as many Senior activities as we could to earn her points to go to Washington D.C. with her class. Money got tight and we didn't see how we could come up with enough to pay our share but we made some payments. News came that Samantha's whole trip had been paid for by a generous donation, and we even got 50.00 back which we sent with Samantha on her trip.

She had a great time and Lilly did awesome. When she returned she had gifts for everyone. The year was coming to an end quickly, and she was doing great.

So here we are Graduation day. Am I proud of Samantha? You bet I am, she continued school, seeing it through. Sure she heard rumors and whispers, but she didn't let it stop her from going for her goals. Graduating, getting a job, buying a car, getting her license, and going to college.

She graduated today, starts her job on Monday, has her permit, and starts college in the fall. Looks like 4 out of 5 so far. Being a teen mom has not held her back as much as some would think. My daughter is a Awesome mom, fantastic daughter, and growing up more and more each and every day.

They talked about two students today one who never missed a day since Kindergarten, and another who took quite a few years to graduate. Yes I thought it might be Samantha they would talk about, but we all know they can't do that, they can't tell anyone about a teenage mother who is making her dreams come true. A teen who had the support of friends, family, and community. It might lead to an outbreak of teen pregnancies. Oh well. All I can say is that she made everyone in Marksville very proud today with her accomplishments.

Samantha on stage with her rose.

Papa showing Lilly where Mommy is.
Lilly making her rounds, yeah she is holding her hands out for Nana.

Here is the Taconic Hills Class of 2012.

Here is Samantha and Daddy balling their eyes out.

Don't care how old my kids are, they will never be too old for hugs and kisses.

Marksville from left to right.
Paul, Samantha holding Lilly, Taylor, Buke, Deanna in front, Dennise in back, Dorothy in front, Me, and Dennis. The only one missing is Bryan who we were missing very much today.

Samantha did it.

Yeah that is right Marksville style like only we can do it. Love you Samantha. So very proud of you. You are AWESOME!

A little side note here. I wasn't able to get pictures of Grandma Marks, and Grandpa George because they took off, right after the graduation. They told Dennis to take his time and they would be waiting by the cars. Well we rushed Samantha through the pictures, leaving her without getting many of the ones she wanted with her friends so that we could get back to the cars to get pictures with her Grandparents.

When we got back to the cars all we found was a card that had been left in the van. Let's just say that Dennis was not happy at all, and to make amends to Samantha for his mother again letting his kids down he whispered to me we were going out for lunch. Who are we kidding she didn't come to Buke's graduation at all, didn't even get him a gift. Sure that 100.00 was nice that Grandma gave Samantha but it was not the hug and pictures she wanted, or the time she wanted to spend with her on her special day. Yeah we had to see the sadness in her eyes again.

As it is when Dennis called his mother last night to tell her that we were not going out to eat that Samantha had chose to have a Party instead before he even got to tell her she already had an excuse to not go and eat with us. Like I said before every time the kids have graduated from Middle school on up we have invited them out to eat and every time they have an excuse not to attend. This time it was that a client had coughed or spit in her mouth who had Hepatitis C, so she had to go to the hospital for tests or a shot or something.

Dennis thinks it might be just an excuse, a good one to bail out this time on her grandkids, but then again if it did happen then we sure hope she doesn't get it, you know it takes decades to get really bad, and that she will be ok. Either way I hope she takes the time to come to her party, or Samantha just may be done too. My parents were greatly missed today, and even though they are in Heaven, we still felt their love, as well as the many memories of time spent with the kids, that will never be forgotten.

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