On July 10, 1997, I became a mother. I was seventeen years old. At the time, I did not realize that it would be the most life altering moment I would ever experience. In my short life, I had already had been through some pretty extreme situations, which happens when you live on the streets and hitchhike up the western coast of the US using and dealing drugs. I was a runner back then too. But, it was a very different type of running. I ran away from home, I ran away from school, and mostly I ran away from myself.
Being a teen mom is generally a sentence to poverty, illiteracy, and crime. For me, it became the trailhead for the most magnificent journey I would ever take. Sapphire blue eyes, fine black downy hair, and tiny fingers, the first time I held Jasper Freedom in my arms was the first day I began to really live.
After Jasper was born, I returned home and to school. I finished my high school diploma one semester behind my class, graduating in December of 1998. I graduated with my Associates degree in 2000 from Salt Lake Community College and applied to the University of Utah. I graduated with by Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2002. I started working for the State doing child abuse investigations. After three years, I applied to law school at the U of U and was accepted. As a lawyer, I have continued to work in child welfare where I feel like I can make a difference for children.
Now, seventeen years later, I run as a form self-expression. I run because it’s a challenge. I run to face my fears. I run to be alone with myself.
I have my mother and my children to thank for my achievements. Because when I was unable to fight for myself, they provided me with a reason to be strong, to dream big, and ultimately to fight for who I was and what I believed in.
There has not been a day that has gone by that my mom has not been there for me. Despite all of my self-destructive choices, my mom was always there with open arms waiting for me to come home. She never gave up on me, even when everyone else had, years before.
Today, she is the first person I call upon when things are tough and when things are amazing. I don’t think that I can ever thank her enough for believing in me and showing me what it is to be a mother.