I got married when I was nineteen.
I hadn't planned on getting married that young. My entire life my parents told me that I needed to finish college, start a career and then get married.
I just skipped two steps is all.
I skipped two steps because I found out I was pregnant. There I was, this nineteen-year-old kid who had just moved into a college dorm who just figured it was the stress that was making her throw up and feel nauseous whenever she smelled hamburger meat.
When I found out I was pregnant I didn't know what to think. I blinked at the doctor who told me and didn't know what to say. My mouth had turned dry and I couldn't even speak even if I wanted to. I just stared at her with wide eyes and she told me in a soothing voice that I had several options. She asked what I wanted to do and I licked my lips and swallowed hard.
"I-I don't know," I stuttered.
I remember picking up some fliers on the way out. One was about adoption. The other was about abortion. But that night I had a nightmare where a blond little boy was looking at me with a sad look on his face and he was just shaking his head back and forth. After that I knew I couldn't have an abortion. Plus, I figured it I was old enough to have sex than I was old enough to face the responsibilities that came with it. So that flier immediately was chucked in the trash. I looked at the adoption flier and then stuffed it in my top drawer.
"I'll see what Tom says, " I muttered.
Tom. The father. The guy who I had been dating on and off for about two years. He was off in basic training and I was due to fly out and see his graduation in a week. I didn't know how I was going to tell him. I paced my tiny dorm room a few times, trying to figure out how I should let him know that he was going to be a father.
I had sweaty palms on the airplane that took me to Texas. It turns out on that flight over I had this guy who wouldn't stop talking to me. It wasn't a full plane so he could have taken a seat anywhere. Instead he remained at my side even after I told him I was flying to see my boyfriend. His face fell for an instant but then he chatted with me the entire flight. I didn't tell him I was pregnant. I figured that news would go to Tom first.
When the flight touched down I felt like I was going to pass out. My Grandma, who lives in Texas met me. I'd be staying with her for the weekend. I was worried she'd take one look at me and figure out I was pregnant but all she did was envelope me into her arms and press a kiss to my cheek.
I saw Tom two hours later. It was a Thursday, a day when Tom was due to have a few hours off. I took deep breaths as my Grandma drove me onto Lackland Air Force Base. When she parked I leaped out of the car and searched the long parking area for Tom. I saw a bunch of uniformed men clumped together in the far corner and some wandering by themselves. And then there he was. Tom. My Tom.
I hadn't seen him for a few months and he looked amazing. Safe. He wore his blue uniform and he gave me a sheepish grin as he walked towards me. He gave me a hug but no kiss. Kissing wasn't allowed as it was considered PDA. My Grandma said she'd give us some time and come back for me later. I thanked her and then Tom and I headed into the BX.
It was in there, by the CD section, that I told him I was pregnant.
"I'm.." I started.
"Pregnant," Tom finished.
I looked at him with wide eyes. "How did you...."
He pointed at my stomach that was poking out more than usual. "I kind of figured. I either thought you gained weight or you were pregnant. I didn't want to mention it because females tend to get angry if you tell them they look bigger."
There was a brief silence. Then I went, "So..."
And Tom went, "So.."
I threw up my arms. "Now what?"
"What do YOU want to do?"
"I don't know."
And I really didn't.
The next day was the graduation. I watched Tom graduate from basic training and I believe the following day was his free day. We walked along downtown San Antonio. The baby hadn't been mentioned since I had first told him I was pregnant. But then as we walked along the streets Tom said,
"Let's have the baby." Then he smiled at me.
It was tough leaving him. But I had to go back to college and Tom had to start Tech School. We spoke via the telephone and Tom told me that he wanted to marry me. He wanted me to come down after I finished school in December. At the same time the college was pressing me, asking if I wanted to move into family housing and stay. I thought about staying. I had friends who would be able to help and there was a daycare nearby. But then I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to do it by myself. I felt the baby deserved to have a father. So I decided to leave college.
When I flew down for Tom's Tech School graduation he proposed. We stayed in a hotel room and Tom told me to wait outside for a few minutes. Then he ran in and a few minutes later called for me. When I walked in he was on the bed with candles surrounding him. When I got closer he got down on one knee and held out a ring.
"I love you. Will you marry me?"
Of course I said yes. I leaped into his arms and I'm sure you can figure out what happened next.
We were married when I was seven months pregnant. I wore a black dress, because it was the only thing that fit. Tom wore his uniform. We were married in a courtroom. And that was it.
At nineteen I was a wife and soon to be a mother.