I'm flying back home tonight for Thanksgiving break. Back to good old Moon Township, Pennsylvania. I'm super excited to see all my crazy/wonderful/amazing family and friends. But at the same time, I still get apprehensive about going home. The truth is, when I go back to Pittsburgh, it brings back so many memories from my senior year of high school. And I don't like those memories. I don't like them at all.
I left Pittsburgh when I was 7 months pregnant, moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, had the little babe, and I never looked back. Okay, I'd like to think that I never looked back, but I actually did. The first time I went back to Pittsburgh after Deanna was born, I was really nervous. I went back in September of 2006 to give my crown to the next Homecoming Queen. I knew that people were going to bombard me with questions about what had happened. Remember, I left with a baby in my belly and I didn't return with one. I can see how that might pique people's curiosity. I remember walking around at the homecoming football game, knowing there were a lot of eyes burning through me. So I put on a smile and kept it all together. But inside, I knew that things weren't really all together. Things weren't really okay. I was depressed and very sad about my loss. I had lost a lot of weigh and I was still struggling with transitioning into being a college student after going through the entire pregnancy and adoption. But my pride got the best of me, and I made sure nobody ever knew that I was struggling. I'm doing great, everything is fine, and I'm very happy in Raleigh. I love college, my daughter is great, and I couldn't be happier. Thanks for asking.
People can be so cruel. There were people in my high school who, I believe, took pleasure in my unfortunate circumstance. They pointed, they stared, they gossiped. They were happy to see me quit swimming, to fail. There were people who made unpleasant remarks, people who asked very inappropriate questions, and even several teachers who told me what I should or shouldn't do regarding adoption or parenting. A figure of authority at school even suggested that I have an abortion. It was horrific. I couldn't take it any longer. I left school when I was four months pregnant to be home-bound tutored. During this time, three of my teachers came to my house once a week. I only had three classes left to graduate. It was nice to be out of the spotlight and to be able to concentrate solely on graduating and my decision, but it was also very depressing because I was home alone for most of the day. My parents were at work, my sisters were at school, and I was home alone with a growing belly. And the women on The View? They became some of my closest friends. How I loved watching Elisabeth Hassellbeck and her growing belly. I envied her excitement and how she had done things "the right way." Aside from going to a bi-weekly appointment at our local crisis pregnancy center and visits from Robbie and my close friends, I experienced very little social interaction during that time. Memories.
As I've gotten older, I've become more confident and comfortable with the decision that I made. For me, our open adoption just gets better every day. So this week, I'm going to try really hard to push aside the bad memories and to just think about all of the good. Because there really are so many great memories that I have of my hometown. (And there's nothing better than the Pittsburgh Steelers!) My family and friends are a huge part of why I am where I am today, and I'm going to really enjoy the time that I have to spend with them this week.
When I go back home this time, I will still tell people the same thing I said four years ago--I'm doing great, everything is fine, and I'm very happy in Raleigh. I loved college, my daughter is doing great, and I couldn't be happier--but this time, I will actually be speaking the truth. Now that's something to be thankful for. Steel City, here I come!
Last year, My sister Michelle and I spent Thanksgiving in South Carolina with our aunt and cousins.
Here are some pictures we took to mark the occasion...