...I was pregnant at 19 years old and gave bitrh to my son one month after my 20th birthday. That's also the month that I realized that I was now damaged goods. I knew that the 'baggage' I would bring into any future relationships would be more than just broken hearts or bad memories, it would be actual baggage... In my case, a diaper bag. From that day forward, I was a package deal.
Don't get me wrong - I was never mad or upset, and I never blamed my child for me feeling like I would never be able to find someone. I just genuinely felt that no one would want a girlfriend with a kid. And honestly, at that point, I wasn't even interested in dating.
I spent the first 11 months of my son's life just trying to survive, in a sense. I was learning how to be a good mother and my family was always only a phone call away if I needed them. I got a small apartment the next town over from my parents, and only a 20 minute drive from both of my grandmothers and one of my aunts. I was going to class and finishing my assignments on time. I was working two jobs, but I was paying our bills and still able to find time to spend with my baby. I rarely went out alone with my friends, they would either come to my house or we would go someplace 'child-friendly' like out to eat. For a young single mother, I was doing really well. My family and friends were very supportive and my family helped with bills and childcare when I needed it. My parents even bought me a car so that I could make it to school and work.
I spent a lot of nights thinking about our futures. I didn't want to be 'alone' and I didn't want my son to grow up without a father (out of respect for my child and for private things surrounding that whole period of my life, I will not be discussing where the sperm donor was and why he was not involved). I did want to be with someone, but I did not want to date anyone. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I felt that if I was going to be with someone, it was going to be for the long hall. My son had NEVER seen me kiss or hold hands with a man and a man had never been in our home, I also never wanted any person I would date to meet my child until we were very official (ie, maybe going to marry). I did not want to, nor was I going to be, one of those people who had men coming into and out of their child's life.
"Oh, Kimberly, please get to the part where you meet your handsome prince and ride off into the sunset to drink champagne and live happily ever after!" - Grab your popcorn dolls, we're getting there...
During that 11th month, my friend invited me to 'go out' with her and some friends from her job (she was a lifeguard at a local college's natatorium). I also use the term 'go out' loosely, because she really wanted me to go and evaluate the new guy she was seeing. I am an amazing friend, so of course I said I would go - I mean, I would get the chance to go out AND I would get to judge a guy? Who would pass that up?
I didn't know her friends, I really didn't care what they thought of me, and honestly, I was exhausted. In short, it means that I went, but I had no makeup on, my hair was a frizzy mess and I think that my khakis might have had spit up on them. So of course there was gonna be a hot guy there...
I happened to sit between my friend and this hot guy during the movie. Did I mention that we went to see 'The Passion of the Christ?' Well we did...and it's a long movie...and this guy was staring at me the whole time. And I cried a little... After the movie, a few of us decided to grab some food at the Steak N Shake, and this guy came along with us. We got to talking and ended up spending like 4 hours at Steak N Shake, milking our food just to have an excuse to stay longer. I finally had to excuse myself to leave so I could pick up my son, and he asked if he could call me. I told him that if he was that serious about wanting to call me, then he would have no problem asking my friend (the one that invited me) for my phone number.
I did get a call from him, in fact I got a call from him the next day, wanting to know if I wanted to go out with him that night...I turned him down (just to see how he'd react). And surprise, he called again the next day. I had turned him down and he still called again, and it wasn't even weird or creepy (for some odd reason), I was actually kind of flattered. I agreed to go out with him that night *IF* it was a double date with the same friend and her new boyfriend. Oh, and again, he had to be the one to do it. Well, he obviously called them and set it up, because we did go out that night. My parents had my son for the entire night (with the expectation that I would be at church the next morning to pick him up. But still, I was really excited not to have a 'curfew.'
It was such a great night. We went downtown and grabbed some dinner at an amazing restaurant, I even paid the tab so that he wouldn't expect ay *dessert* later. After dinner we walked around downtown. Then we all headed back to my apartment (in my car) to watch '28 Days Later.' I'm not sure if we were all too tired, or had too much to drink, but all 4 of us fell asleep during that movie. We also didn't wake up until 20 minutes before I had to pick up my son, who happened to be at a church 25 minutes away. I shook my friends awake, changed my clothes like a flash, and shoved the other 3 in the car. Forgetting by the way, that a guy I had just been on a date with, was about to go with me to pick up my child.
*To this day, I believe with all of my heart that God caused us to wake up so late on that Sunday. If we had gotten up on time, and I had sent that boy home, who knows what would have happened.*
We arrived at church in the nick of time and we all went inside together. My parents knew my friend, so we just introduced them to the guys. My dad wandered off to talk to friends, my date excused himself to the bathroom, and I stood there with my friends, my mom, and my smiling baby. I told my mom that I felt like such a horrible mother, that someone I went on a date with was about to see my baby, and what should I do. She told me that honestly, he was so young, and that one time probably wouldn't matter...That I should just see what happens. I calmed down, and my 3 friends and I decided to go get a bite to eat, before heading back to my house (to pick up vehicles).
We must have been a sight, 4 young adults and 1 baby walking into a semi-fancy restaurant in jeans on a Sunday afternoon. We sat at a 4 person table, with a high-chair placed at the end. I sat on the inside, across from my friend's date, she and my date sat on the outside next to the high-chair. Yes, I know, at this point he has not only met my baby, but now he is sitting next to him at lunch.
Let's take a moment and discuss all of the wonderful things that happened during lunch shall we...
My baby screamed
My baby threw food everywhere
My baby spit up all over the table
...and my friend
...and my date
My baby screamed more
My baby choked on a lemon that my friend gave him, which caused him to
...spit up more
...and then vomit
...on my date
...My baby shit through his diaper and through his pants
...onto the highchair
...and the floor
...and my date's pant leg
...and his shoe
...My baby knocked my friend's plate of food onto the floor
...and my date's plate
Do I need to continue?
We cleaned up, got in the car, and headed for my house...
My date did not say one word to me, just stared out the window...
I knew at that moment, that I would never see him again and that this would be my last date for a long, long time...
When we got back to my house, my friend could tell that I was a little upset, so she and her date took the baby to his room so she could put him down for a nap. My date and I sat on the couch in silence. Finally he looked at me and said, "Your son is perfect. He is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen and his laugh makes my heart happy in a way I have never known before. If I was ever lucky enough to have been his dad, there is no way that I could ever have left him."
I myself, was silent at this point. This was what I had been wanting to hear from someone for so long, but it hurt me in a way that I didn't understand. I wanted this guy to be with me forever...So I kicked him out...and told him that I never wanted to see or hear from him again...
But he didn't go...He stayed and tried to talk to me, to reason with me, to get me to go out with him again. And for the next 3 hours we fought and screamed and I said the most hateful things to him...and all he did was keep asking me for a chance...
HOW DARE HE! How dare this man come into my life, and be perfect and amazing and gorgeous, and want to be with me, and say beautiful things to me and adore my son.
HOW DARE HE!!!
Late that night, he left...
I didn't see or hear from him on Monday, and it honestly hurt. It hurt with a fire I had never felt before, blazing through me, and I knew that I had blown it, and I cried...
On Tuesday my girlfriend came back over because she knew I was still upset. I hadn't heard from the guy and I didn't want to be alone. My son was in bed for the night, so we were cleaning up my bedroom and talking. And then the phone rang and it was HIM! As stupid as it sounds, at that moment, his voice was the most beautiful sound in the world. He asked if he could come over to talk and I said yes. It was an hour and a half drive from his parents house to mine, but he made it in 50 minutes. I was nervous the entire time.
He walked in the door and held my face in his hands and said, "Just listen." He told me that he had spent the entire previous day talking to his parents about me, and about the baby. He wanted to know their opinions on dating a girl with a child, and what they thought would be the best thing for him to do. They said that he should not even date me, unless he felt he could be in it for the long haul. That if he wasn't serious about being with US, and he wasn't ready to commit to maybe having a family, instead of just a 'girlfriend,' then he should just walk away. And then he shook his head at me and gave me a teary smile, and walked out my front door, taking with him what little of my shattered heart I had left. I wanted to collapse. At that moment, I knew in my heart, that no one could ever love us, and that we would always be alone...
And then that bastard walked back in my house with a duffel bag full of stuff, he just looked at me and said, "I'm in this for the long haul if you are." I wanted to punch him in the face for scaring the shit out of me. But I also knew that one day, I was gonna marry that man. He moved in with us that day. We married a little over 4 months later and had a child together 6 months after that (yes, I am aware of the math).
Let's look at this time frame again shall we?
*We met on Thursday, February 26th
*We had our first date on Saturday, February 28th
*He met my child on Sunday, February 29th - Yes, 2004 was a leap year (Oh, and when he 'went to the bathroom' at church? I found out later that he really went to ask my father for his permission to date his daughter, and hopefully one day be a father figure to his grandson...*tear*)
*He told his parents he 'met his soul mate' on Monday, March 1st
*He moved in with us on Tuesday, March 2nd
*We got married on July 4th
*We had a child on January 7th
Pretty quick, I know, but it just so worked for us. I won't go into it much deeper, because relationships are a topic from 'The Happiness Project' that I will be working on and writing about later in the year.
However, I will say that since then, we will have been married for 7 years this coming July, we have added 2 more beautiful children to our home, we have moved 4 times, we have been through 3 overseas deployments, 100s of fights, countless hours of laughter, and years worth of all the joy, anger, hope, pain, craziness, and everything else that marriage brings...
*CHILD #1, GABRIEL IAN*
*CHILD #2, TAYLOR EILEEN*
*CHILD #3, GRADEN EMERSON*
*CHILD #4, LUCAS ISSAC*
Oh...and for the record...my prince's name...is Dustin