I know that many of you think that Gene is the father of all my babies. And in theory he is. He was there when Doug was born (albeit with his first wife who soon became his ex), the outfit Doug wore in his first pictures Gene picked out. No we were not having any affair or anything like it. We had been friends for years, and that is all we were, he and his wife and I. I dated a little when I was pregnant. Wait let’s go back okay before this gets confusing. When I got pregnant with Douglas I was still married to my first husband, whom I had left in Colorado Springs after catching him cheating on me once more. I came back home and filed for divorce, enrolled in night classes at the local vocational school and expected the divorce to happen rather quickly. After all we had no children in the union and I was back home while he was in Colorado. But I had to wait 3 months to be separated from him, that time came and went. Then suddenly they could not locate him to serve him papers. He had gotten discharged from the army and disappeared. Fast forward a year and a half and I am dating again. Tired of the round about of the courts in locating my ex. They were finally going to attempt to attain one where I would be divorced but since he could not be located he wouldn’t. Don’t ask, only in KY can one person in a 2 person marriage be divorced. But in cases like mine the law comes in handy. I dated Doug’s dad for a while, and one thing led to another. I found out I was pregnant about the time I was telling him it was me or the lifestyle he was involved in. At first he was excited and tried to straighten up but I had come alone long after the other things and didn’t really stand a chance, baby on the way or not.
Fast forward a month or so, I dated a few other people, being honest with them from the beginning that I was pregnant, because I am not a player who passes off responsibility on the wrong people. I just could never do that. By the time Doug is born I am dating no one. Gene and his wife were at the hospital not just for me but his SIL came in as well. We always cracked we would deliver on the same day to save everyone a bunch of trips to the hospital. Despite repeated calls to the biological father he refused to come to his own child’s birth. The day I was to be released he showed up, talking about I could get a check and move into low income apartment. He would move in with us and see how it went. I have done a lot of things in my life I regret, but I had never lived with any man. My thoughts are if you love me enough to sleep in a bed with me, play house with me, and stay under the same roof 7 days a week then put a ring on my finger. I wasn’t supporting any man, nor giving him the ability to walk out high and dry and leave me with nothing. Not without one hell of a fight anyway. I did get help for supporting my son, finding a job was hard, especially immediately after having him. I got sick and so did he. If anyone ever says that having a baby and living off the government is easy living they are lying. But I hated doing it nonetheless because I hated getting help. I lived with my mom and my sister back and forth, watching her kids while she worked and cleaning her house for her. I paid rent one way or another. I didn’t date. I finally got my health straightened out and Doug was doing better so I went back out job hunting and found factory work. That is where Gene stepped back in. I dated a few guys there but none of them ever got around Doug.
I had chosen not to date much, Doug being my sole concern. Besides I trusted no one around him. I did finally go out with a few at the factory, nothing major, I will admit a couple were simply for sex. I was using protection. The whole time Gene was begging me to go out with him. I kept saying no, we were friends, I did not want to ruin that and a relationship going bad would. Finally he began picking me up for work and bringing me home. Eventually that led to taking Doug to daycare and me to my sisters. We were still friends. He was already going through the divorce from his first wife, who I had cut ties with right after the birth of Doug. She was doing things I was not cool with, things that would affect Gene if he knew and I could not stay quiet. Anyway, I made a choice to not have my kid involved in my relationships from the beginning. I was not going to have a dozen men in and out of his life because I wanted him to have a daddy. My BIL and his brothers were great role models for Doug and they all loved him. Gene and I apparently wound up dating and marrying. Doug took his name at 16. He has always been daddy period. But that was the FIRST man he knew outside of family that he interacted with. Period. He was nearly 3 when we got together.
I made a choice that my child was the most important thing and I was not dragging him through relationships like some kind of pawn. I was upfront with all my dates that I was a mother FIRST but they would not meet my child till well down the road. I see so many today who don’t do that and it breaks my heart. These babies may be fortunate enough to have their bio dad in the picture but many do not. So they go along with mommy and each man becomes a new ‘uncle’ or ‘daddy’ . As a single mom I wanted a man, I would be lying if I said I didn’t. But not at the expense of my child’s emotional well being. He didn’t need revolving daddies, nor did I. Being honest upfront I was able to head off some men at the pass, the ones who did stick around usually were not someone I saw forever with, let alone forever with my child involved. It angers me to watch a young mother who is so afraid to be alone just drag her kids from pillar to post, bringing them into every relationship from the beginning. Trust me girls if he KNOWS you are a momma first he will be willing to wait to meet your kids, he will be willing to earn that right to be a part of their lives. Period. A real man will earn it. He will step up and do everything to show you he can be depended on to be stable and fair. Watch him around other kids. Take him places kids would be, does he handle the craziness that kids can be. If he can’t handle strangers kids then he sure can’t handle yours. I understand even parents have issues with some people’s kids, cause some kids are just out there and the parents refuse to make them mind. But having that thought and acting on it are great chasms of difference. Have pride in yourself enough to know you don’t have to have a man to survive. Your kids can have male role models that you can depend on that don’t want to get in your pants. It is possible. I am proof.
Granted Gene and I only dated a little more then 3 months before getting married but he was not just someone I had only met. We already had a history together before I was a parent. I knew who he was around kids I had seen him. He had even taken custody of his wife’s niece for her first year. So that was something I knew already. But had we not had that history I would have never leaped that quickly.