Eileen and Bill were a young couple. She was barely 18 and he was 22. Both were raised in the Santa Clarita Valley and had the advantages of living in this community: nice home, good parents, good schools, safe neighborhoods.
You know. Livin’ the SCV dream.
But, like many kids in our community, they got bored and got into trouble. For Eileen, it was hanging out at the mall with bad kids. Shoplifting, drinking, and raising hell.
For Bill, it started with drinking then slid into marijuana and other drugs. He got into a fight one time and wound up ruining thousands of dollars’ worth of dental work.
They found each other at a party one night and everything clicked. She needed a savior to get her away from the mall rats and he needed someone to save. It helped that both were not tied down by any religious or moral beliefs.
They became an item and soon wanted to be together continuously. However, neither of their families could tolerate the substance abuse and behavior so they would up as outcasts, living in a beat-up old camper.
Of course, living in close quarters with no supervision allowed them to know one another in a biblical sense. As you can guess, easy access combined with no moral direction combined with no understanding of consequences of actions leads to major problems.
The news came after a visit to the free clinic. Eileen and Bill spent about an hour crying in their vehicle after hearing the pronouncement: a young life was growing inside Eileen.
The families had a mixed response. Bill’s family saw the difficult situation but was elated that a new grandchild was on the way! Of course, the Christian values were in conflict. But, being pregnant out of wedlock was easily trumped by a baby. Several years ago, that may have not been the case.
The other family was the challenge. Eileen’s Mom encouraged abortion. This was very odd since the entire family was Catholic, albeit very nominally.
Bill and Eileen heard the advice and drove down to the clinic again. More tears. After the time came and passed for the appointment, they looked at each other and knew what they had to do. Bill put the car in gear and drove to Carl’s for lunch.
They skipped the abortion.
Eileen’s mom was upset about the choice. But Bill’s mom contacted her and discussed the blessing that was coming. The grandchild was not just a useless blob of cells but their flesh and blood. A life that was just starting.
The conversation changed Eileen’s mom. It took her a couple weeks, but then she began to understand the wisdom of seeing the pregnancy as a blessing and not a curse. Her love began to grow.
The pregnancy proceeded and eventually yielded a healthy, happy, and amazing little boy. Mark captivated the hearts of his parents, grandparents, and extended family as soon as he arrived.
Love can do that.
The family had to work together to ensure this new nuclear unit had what it needed to survive. Both sets of grandparents and aunts/uncles contributed to get them up and running. Having a baby is tough on finances. Its also tough on people.
Becoming a parent changes the focus from self to someone else. You are no longer the focal point of the world. That baby is now the priority and other needs become subordinate.
For young people like Bill and Eileen, that was very difficult.
Hedonistic lifestyles are difficult to break once they get started. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and whatever else the young mind craves are powerful controls on behavior.
But, a baby forces one to review those priorities. In fact, I believe that parenthood makes us better people, no longer the self-centered and worthless humans that young adulthood often breeds.
Babies are difficult. The young parents spent many late nights up with Mark, changing diapers, preparing formula, going to the doctor, and managing work/school around his schedule.
Mark is now 1 year old and the light of many lives. He has a laugh and a smile that captivate a room. There is a brightness in his eyes that I see in very few people today.
Will he cure cancer? Will he save lives in a fire? Will he fight a war for our nation? Hard to say. But I know one thing for sure.
Bill and Eileen made the right decision.
Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and has written this column from personal experience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.