I first met Paige when she was 16.My initial impression being that she was pretty, but brash, tinged with the standard teenage punk attitude, armed with stark red lips and twin star tattoos coloring each of her calves. In the beginning, she rubbed me the wrong way and I was quick to assume we likely had very little in common so she stuck with her friends and I with mine anytime we happened to be in the same crowd, bumping into each other randomly at all the regular house parties and beach bon fires that come to define summers in your late teens and early twenties. It wasn’t until we found out she was pregnant by Shawn, my husband’s good friend since high school, that I came to make much of an effort at getting to know her in the least.And yet somehow, once that five pound baby girl came into the world, I felt an immediate connection to Paige, Kennedy, Shawn … the whole family. She was one of the first babies in our lives and we were absolutely smitten with her.
Fast forward 14 years down the line, and though the family has suffered it’s fair share of trials and hardships throughout the years, we remain as close as family, sharing birthdays, holidays and overall, the general achievements and milestones that each of our children come to know growing up. And that tiny baby I fell in love with so many years before I had my own, is now a teenage girl with a heart of gold blessed with a beauty and wit you can’t help but adore.
Here, they both share a little bit about their young start together.
You were eighteen when Kennedy was born, right? How did you break the news to your parents?
I was 17 when I got pregnant. I was really really scared. I was hard for me. I just told them and they were quiet and disappointed. But they didn’t yell. It was shock. After that, they decided they were just going to deal with it.
Were you scared?
I wasn’t as scared as I should have been. I was just so immature.
During that time, would you say that you enjoyed your pregnancy?
I was scared, but yah. Nothing like what I experienced with Mickey though.
Did you feel alienated by your peers?
Not really. My friends still hung out. I had one friend who had already had a baby so that helped.
Kennedy was early, I remember. How much did she weigh?
She was born about 34 weeks. She weighed albs, 110z. But was healthy.
How did you choose her name?
I always loved that name. If it was a girl I just knew it would be Kennedy. I thought it was a good strong name for a girl.
What about school, did you end up graduating?
I did, with honors. But I had her three days before graduation. Nobody signed my yearbook because I was in the hospital having a baby. My milk came in during graduation ceremony. I remember that. And after it was over I went right back to the hospital to check on her. No celebration, or dinner.
Was there ever a point where you resented having a baby when all of your friends were still busy growing up?
And then Ford was born 11 months later. What were those days like? Being 19 and 20 with two babies and a household to care for?
I just remember I went nowhere. I did nothing. It was a total blur. It was like having twins, but with separate needs. NO SLEEP. I literally never left the house because it was just too hard. And, Ford was a very difficult baby, so I had that too. It just wasn’t worth leaving the house unless it was an emergency.
Having experienced motherhood for the first time at 18, and now, in your 30s, what would you say is the biggest difference?
Definitely appreciating little things. Understanding how fast it all goes. I look at Mickey longer, I appreciate those moments so much more. With Kennedy and Ford I kept waiting for them to get bigger so we could do more and things would get easier. This time I don’t have that at all. Also, with Mickey I was a woman. When I gave birth at 30 I felt like it was the most incredible experience. I wasn’t scared. I felt like I could conquer the world. I think I am less patient now but I appreciate it all so much more.
Who is more patient with Mickey? Kennedy or Ford?
Kennedy. But Ford is great at keeping him entertained.
With the age gap between you have between all three kids, what might you say are some of the benefits, as well as downfalls?
The kids help out a lot. They teach him a lot too. And I think he reminds them about being young. All the fun stuff about childhood that comes with holidays and stuff. And he also pretty much has four adults looking after him at all times.
None really… But for me, being older, I am SO TIRED.
Do you ever consider having another baby while Mikey is still young?
No. I love babies but the reality of it is not as cute.
What about yours and Kennedy’s relationship now – are you guys pretty open? If so, do you plan on talking to her about birth control? And what, if anything do you hope is different for her at 18?
We are open with each other, yah. She is a smart girl. She is going to go to college and do things differently. I want her to live her life before she has children. When it comes to birth control, she knows she can come talk to me. I think knowing her mom was a teenage mother helps her know she doesn’t want that for herself either. I just hope she gets to travel, get an education, live life, meet the right person and have children when she is fully ready.
Kennedy, how old are you now?
13, 14 in June.
I know you had a really rough time with your parents divorce recently – what was you reaction when your mom told you she was pregnant?
I was really mad. I didn’t like the idea of it at all. I didn’t like the idea of them splitting up. And I felt like this new guy and baby was there to take away my childhood. I hated the whole idea. I went into my room crying and wrote down all of my feelings.
Paige: “It took her a day and then she came into my room and said “I thought about it. And, I’m excited.” She was sweet once she came to accept it.
What was it like having a newborn in the house again?
Chaotic. It was exciting, but hard to get use to. I felt like I had lived a lot of my life already and then suddenly, he was there.
How about now? Do you mind baby sitting Mickey? And what are your favorite ways to keep him entertained while your mom is away?
Most of the time it’s fine. Unless I have something to do, then I get mad. She always says she’s going to pay me but she never does.
Paige: (laughing) it’s true. I never pay. For the most part I think it’s just part of the family dynamic. Older kids have to look out and help with the younger sometimes. Most of the time she’s really good about it.
Kennedy, your mom must be one of the youngest of all your friends, right? What’s that like?
It’s nothing. I kind of like it. I like how young and awesome she is. People think she’s my sister all the time. I brag about her, how open minded she is when it comes to me and my friends. And then of course some guys talk about her being “hot” like, “wow, your sister is hot!” And I’m like “no, that’s my mom.”
You two are the same size, tiny. Do you share clothes?
Oh yah. More like I steal her clothes. She takes the baggier stuff though. The flannels. She says I have nicer clothes than her so when I am getting rid of stuff sometimes she will take my hand me downs. (laughing)
When you think about the fact that your mom was only a few years older than you when you were born, it’s pretty crazy right? Where do you see yourself at 18? Doing what?
I will be graduated. Either applying for college or in college.
Do you want kids?
17. Kidding! Probably, like two?
Who is your favorite musician?
Favorite way to spend a weekend?
We’ve known each other for the longest time. Out of everybody I know, she is the most understanding of my family and life, the music I like and how my parents have raised me.
If I asked you what the best part of having a baby brother is what would you say?
Being able to see him everyday and reminding me that it’s fun to be a kid again.
Trying to get things done. Especially days when he only wants a certain person and that certain person is me. It makes homework impossible.
Well, Kennedy, I have to say. I don’t blame him at all for that.