Thursday, January 15, 2004

Sweet child o' mine
Sometimes in life things don't go according to plan. And sometimes that's good.
Babies are often unexpected, but my son was more so than most. I didn't give birth to him; I didn't adopt him. But he's mine nonetheless.
As with most stories, it's best to start at the beginning. Seven years ago, my husband and I were having some marital discord. Scratch that. We were fighting like cats and dogs. I knew something was up. I was unhappy; he was unhappy. So I left.
A few days after my departure, I called the house to tell him I had my half of the divorce filing fee.
And she answered. It was liking hitting tilt on the pinball machine. First, I thought maybe I had the wrong number. No, he was there. She was there. One of the worst moments in my life. Yes, I moved out. Yes, I was unhappy. No, I wasn't prepared for someone to be in my place so soon.
So I did a stupid thing. After they (yes, they) came by to get the money. I went to my former home to get a few things. They were my things and I still had a key, so it wasn't breaking-and-entering. But it probably wasn't a good idea either.
And there it was -- sitting in my former living room -- the crib.
When he found out I had been in the house, he called. It wasn't one of the worst fights we have ever had. A few months later, they came into my former workplace. Normally, I wouldn't have been at the counter. As luck (bad) would I have it, I was. On the day they got their first sonogram. Over the next year, I talked to him one time when he called to tell me a family friend had been in a wreck. And an ugly letter I sent him about getting the divorce finalized and telling him to quit stalling it.
The baby was born -- a boy according to the newspaper. I dreamed about him. I did a very strange thing and bought him a present. But it was never sent. It remained in the bottom of my dresser drawer.
About 7 months later, I get a phone call while in the shower. I was staying with my grandmother who needed a little extra help and my brother was in town for a visit. My brother answers the phone. He shouts through the bathroom door. I tell him take a message and then he says these four words: "I think it's Ken."
I don't know why I took the call, but I was glad I did.
We talked for hours while he drove into town. The new relationship didn't work. She was gone, the baby boy was two hours away. He was coming back from a visit. He asked me out on a date. A date with your ex-husband is a very strange thing. But it was a good thing, the love was still there.
Once the former girlfriend realized I was back, she refused visitation. So we went to court and we won back his father's right. While we were at it, we remarried.
And we picked up his son. He was (still is) the most beautiful child. Big brown eyes, his daddy's smile. I was worried -- what if this 9-month-old child didn't like me. But when I held him -- it was right. He wasn't born of my body, but he was a child of my heart from the very beginning.
For him, this is normal. He has a mommy, a daddy and a chriss.
It's so matter-of-fact for such an incredible bond. He writes me notes, saying "These are just for parents." When he dropped something on the playground, he told the other kid, "That's okay, my chriss will get it." He jumps up and down when I tell him I don't have to go to work and can stay home with him. He has my crooked little finger, defying all the laws of biology. And he has my heart.
No, sometimes things don't happen the way you expect. Sometimes they're better.

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