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Sixteen. Pregnant. Shotgun wedding. Still succeeded.

BY navidadgal on May 5, 2010
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When I got pregnant at 16, I was kicked out of high school. (Pregnancy is contagious, or some such notion.) I got married (not many options in 1967) and went to adult school where I finished a year and a half of high school in seven months and took my last final in labor. The following winter, I started community college. I took my baby daughter with me, carrying her to class or exchanging baby sitting with other young parents until we launched an on-site day care center. In 1972, I divorced (but kept my daughter) and transferred to UC San Diego. Despite working part time as a waitress and full time as a student and single mom, living on next to nothing and traveling everywhere on slow stinking buses, I graduated with highest honors. Four months later, in the fall of 1975, I began law school. For three years, I worked multiple part-time jobs, studied ferociously and hoped my daughter would forgive me for all the time I couldn't spend with her. The year I graduated from law school, my daughter turned 10. I panicked at how quickly she had reached the double digits and wondered if we would ever have enough time together. Still, I had to keep moving forward. I passed the bar exam the following spring and began to practice law. There was no let-up in the frantically paced schedule, but at least we had money for Sunday afternoon shopping sprees and ice cream parlors. Fast forward 30-plus years and my daughter is now a mom, married, working and (remarkably) close to me. She says she had a very happy childhood, that I am her role model and that she loves me very much. I don't know how we made it intact through those rough years, but we did ... somehow. And I count my relationship with my daughter and her children as one of my greatest successes.

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