Finding My Certainty FYI...TMI
It was about 5 o’clock on a Wednesday morning.
There was a knock on the door of the two-bedroom-two-bathroom apartment I lived in most of my college career.
I opened the door and Danny was standing there. His mother had dropped him off so he could ride down south and have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house.
My cell phone rang, Danny and I both looked at each other knowingly, it was his mom.
“Hi darling,” she said (it’s still her customary greeting for me).
“Hi mommy,” I responded.
“What time you guys leaving?”
I told her the time.
“Okay, you two can still get some rest before the drive. Please don’t do anything and get yourselves in trouble.”
Sex. She was talking about sex. LOL!
I chuckled, “We won’t. We’re going to sleep.”
“Let me talk to my son.”
I handed Danny the phone and busied myself in the apartment’s small kitchen.
Once they hung up I asked Danny, if he was hungry or wanted something to drink.
He responded with,
“Is that the way you greet the future father of your kids?”
Of course not.
We hadn’t touched since he came inside.
I stood on my tip toes and put my arms around his neck and waited for him to pull me into the big bear hug that had become my favorite hello, goodbye routine. Then, he kissed me. Firmly, lightly, softly - beautifully.
I LOVED him.
In that moment, I did truly want him to be the father of my children. We had even talked baby names.
In that moment, as in so many moments before, I was CERTAIN he would be.
But many moments of uncertainty have since followed.
(P.S. if you're reading this mom, we really did go to sleep that morning, Danny actually slept on the floor LOL)
My life plan was simple enough: Finish college in two years. Go to Grad school. Marry Danny. Have his babies. Live happily ever after. Amen.
...Less than six months later, Danny and I broke up.
I didn't feel much, except the annoyance that comes from feeling like you wasted your time.
In our 6-year (at that point) friendship we had overcome so much – my not being allowed to date, long distance, other admirers, miscommunication, etc. For it to end so abruptly was disappointingly anti-climatic. I felt no contact was best and we moved on.
A few months later feeble attempts were made to try and re-establish our friendship but that soon ended when I got word from a mutual friend that,
“Danny has a baby on the way, but don’t say anything.”
I called him immediately. (DUH!?)
My voice burst with resentment for the first time, which was matched by his infuriation that someone else delivered the message.
We had a couple heated exchanges, each one ending with one of us hanging up on the other.
Later that day I found myself laughing at the irony. (When you laugh you’re over it right?)
Needless to say, there was not much contact after that.
But behind the annoyance, the resentment, the anger, and even the cynicism, (all which I buried beneath poetry and general numbness) there was confusion and an abstruse sadness – the kind that comes from a growing distrust of the people closest to you, and losing a dear friend, and seeing life unravel almost completely opposite of what you could have ever imagined.
Every time I thought I was over it, someone new would catch wind of it and would waste no time in bringing it to my attention. Outwardly, I would respond to their breaking news headline with apathy, but each time I heard it, it crushed me…
Danny and I got back in contact just before his first father’s day. As a show of goodwill I treated him to lunch at a Brazilian Steakhouse and gave him an engraved picture frame from Things Remembered.
(Danny lost his father when he was only a toddler, and any friend, bosom buddy or not, would recognize how monumental this day is for a new dad, who grew up without a father of his own.)
Even after that we still kept our distance but did our best to remain cordial on those rare occasions when our paths did cross.
I never planned on being a stepmother, but I was always open to it in general.
It was easy to see how I could meet and fall in love with someone new who just happened to have a child with someone else before me. It wasn’t uncommon. I had several friends at the time who had children but were unattached.
NEW was the keyword.
Danny wasn’t new. (We've known each other since I was 13.)
I wish I could tell you that after moving to Atlanta everything magically fell into place.
I wish I could tell you that rekindling our friendship happened naturally and getting engaged and being married solved all the issues you could imagine in a story such as ours.
But none of that would be true.
There were many awkward interactions and a lot, a lot of questions.
Before getting married, it was mainly -
What will people think?
Of all the men in the world, why him Lord? (LOL)
How do I fit in to Azariah's life?
Is this REALLY what I want? And even if it is, do I have what it takes to make this work?
I wasn’t sure I could trust my temperamental self.
Even after our “I do”s, I still dealt with a range of insecurities everything from -
“Am I good enough in bed,” to “What if I can’t give him anymore children,” to
“Do I even want more children? When our Azariah is already such a brilliant gem?”
And of course there’s the internal pressure that builds as well-meaning family and friends ask why there is no baby yet as they excitedly await your pregnancy announcement. (No announcement yet, sorry.)
But hardest of all, have been the “other” things –
Watching the toll it takes on your husband because he can’t be with his daughter every day as he would like.
Having to sit tight lipped when false accusations fly and his character is attacked all in the name of humility, because miscommunication and misunderstanding are common as you try to co-parent.
Watching the interaction between father and daughter in those blessed moments we do get to spend with Azariah, knowing that it will come to an end all too soon.
Finding contentment and sincere joy instead of feeling like I’m missing out on major milestones, when finances permit only one of us to attend...that person will always be Danny.
People have sweetly, and ignorantly, shared their (often misguided and unsolicited) opinions, which can be summed up in saying all these problems will be solved when I have a child of my own. What those dear people don’t understand is that Azariah IS mine, because she is Danny’s.
My role in her life is to forever work at letting her know I am here as an additional source of unconditional love.
I still don’t have all the answers, and that frustrates me every now and then. It’s very much something Danny and I work at, and work through, on a day to day basis.
But even in those moments, I know this to be true,
I chose this path.
I chose it happily, and willingly, and I freely put in the effort our beautifully blended family requires.
I chose to marry, and love with reckless abandon, the only man I had ever envisioned being the father of my children. I chose to become a stepmom and love Azariah as if I carried her beneath the heart myself.
Though challenging at times, and heartbreaking (I hate when Azariah leaves and miss her terribly when she's away :insert anguished emoji here:), I can’t imagine it any other way. Azariah is our first born and this path unwinding is perfect in every way. (Psalm 18:30).
I am finding certainty again.
My certainty does not lie in a flawlessly planned future or always knowing how to be a good wife and great stepmom.
My certainty stems from what Danny and I work to cultivate day in and day out –
A happy and healthy marriage and a loving home for Azariah
...and her future sibling(s). Yes.
I do want more children.
But not because I need to fill some void from stepmom insecurities.
I want to have Danny’s kids because I love him, and yes, I do want to experience the seed of our love growing inside me.
I want to have his kids because I believe in him and his fathering abilities.
I want to have his kids because I have faith in the godly legacy we are creating together.
I thank God for this cushion of time He’s given us since getting married.
(Truthfully, I’m probably STILL not all the way prepared mentally and emotionally for a little one)
But I am CERTAINLY looking forward to that day...even if it IS two years from now, which is also perfectly fine with me, winks.