My mom was 21 when she got pregnant with me. She had to grow up faster than her peers, and take on a huge responsibility. Probably 10 years too early.
As a teenager, my mom ran away from home. She squatted in a warehouse in Oakland and became a performance artist. In a way I kept her from growing up on her own terms. In another way, I put her on track, forcing her to build a stable environment for us.
When I was born, she dedicated herself to giving me opportunities that she never had. And once she set me up with everything I needed to thrive, she refocused on to her own goals.
I was nine when she enrolled in community college to start her prerequisites. A few years later, she got into nursing school.
On my mom's first day, she came into my bedroom with her backpack and her travel mug full of coffee, looking like an ecstatic little kid. I remember grabbing my phone off the nightstand to take a picture, capturing her dorky reading glasses, her bangs pinned back, and her big excited smile.