As I was looking at a new referral on my desk, I noticed a familiar name and thought, "Hmmm, could it be her? Nahhh, no way!! She couldn’t be old enough to be pregnant!! She couldn’t be 19 years old!!"
I was wrong…it was her!! It was my first Healthy Start baby. Now she is having her own baby! Where did the years go?
So, I text her to confirm our visit and see a note on the appointment that says, “MGM (maternal grandmother) will be present.” Well, that means my former client would be there too! I can’t wait to see her!! It has been 14 years since we have seen each other. The last time we saw each other was in 2002 when she graduated from the Healthy Start program.
As I prepare for my visit, I am reminiscing. Okay, I wonder if I can find a photo of the graduation from 2002. As I walk down the halls of our office, I see it on the wall: the photograph that I have passed hundreds of times is there. I take it off the wall and look for her. I just can’t be sure if it is her. My memory just won’t let me remember. I can see her face as a baby and toddler, but for some reason I am just not sure. However, I snap a photo of it anyway to take with me to my visit. I also take a photo of the 2002 Graduation list of names and her name is on it.
I pull up to the address and park my car. As I am approaching the door, it opens. Hiding behind it is my former Healthy Start client. She jumps out and hugs me tight. We both become teary eyed as our memories collide. She calls for her daughter (my Healthy Start baby and new client) and out walks a beautiful, tall young lady. I look closely at her and smile. I couldn’t resist asking her if she remembered me. She said, “No Ma’am. I am sorry.” I smile. Her mom smiles. We both sigh. “It’s okay”, I say, "you were 5 years old the last time you saw me.” Her mom says, “This is Miss Judy. She used to visit us at our home when you were a baby until you started school. Me and Miss Judy, well, we just clicked from the moment we met. She helped me back then. She would bring information to me on how to be a good mother.”
As I sit there and listen to my Healthy Start baby who is now a very intelligent young woman, I realize life is about relationships. It is about every single moment you have with another person and during the moment how important what you do and what you say can be. My Healthy Start baby is in her 3rd year of college, majoring in Criminal Justice and Minoring in Education. Yes, her life is getting ready to take a turn: she is going to become a parent. She is going to be Healthy Start’s next generation of parents that will benefit from the support and relationship that her mother and I shared so many years ago.
Oh, and the photo? I showed her and her mom. They both pointed her out immediately. “There you are!! See?” Her mom walks out of the room for a minute and returns with the same photo of OUR Healthy Start baby that I have. Memories!! Oh how sweet they are! As her mom and I shared some of our times together, Our Healthy Start baby smiled and laughed along with us. A bond has formed. Now, we have each other to love and support our next Healthy Start baby.
~Judy Vega, SBVP Prenatal Screener
*Judy recounts a favorite story from when she worked with the City of Hampton's Healthy Start program, prior to the Covid-19 crisis