Twenty plus years ago I wrote a letter to my x-boyfriend. The guy I thought was the love of my life. The one I followed to a university that I would have never otherwise attended. You know the one down south that costs more for those of us that don’t believe in their strange teachings. I followed my best friend because I loved him. One semester later I was leaving a note on the windshield of his parked Yugo. It told him that I didn’t care what his thoughts were on MY pregnancy. It was our baby, but I made the final decision. I wrote the letter telling him I didn’t care what he wanted or what he thought was best for him/us. I told him I could do it myself! Yes, just like I was two and wanted to put on my own shoes. I can do it myself. I don’t need you so go to hell. Yep, that was pretty much the message I left. I’m not sure that the windshield wiper of that Yugo was sturdy enough to hold onto the folded weight of my revolt. The coveted graduation gift of a car that everyone wishes their parents can afford. However, that Yugo was about $4000 brand new. The gas gage broke after a month. The driver’s seat had to be unbolted and moved back so that Spermy could maneuver his long legs behind the wheel. They even gave one away in a drawing at the local burger joint. Kind of like winning the daily lunch drawing over winning the lottery don’t you think? I was jealous of him then, I think he is jealous of me now. Silly me, jealous over a dorm and a Yugo? Who even remembers Yugos!? Poor him, jealous over missing out on his kid’s life.
Yep, I walked away from everything as did he. We went our own directions. I finished up the year down there in my maternity clothes. He worried about me spilling the beans and ending his turn on the Cougar volleyball hardwood floor. I passed my ecclesiastical interview being seven months pregnant and single. He turned down an opportunity to play ball at Pepperdine. He dated while I wore my great-grandmother’s wedding band on my left ring finger, keeping the faithful at bay. They assumed I was one of them -- getting an early start on my perfect little family. If they only knew the shameful truth, they probably would not have sat by me or offered me their lecture notes on the days I just couldn’t crawl out of bed and make the forty minute drive. I didn’t know what struggles he was facing and he didn’t know that I was trying to fit in doc appointments, work and finish school with passing grades. We split. Our once daily conversations during our commute were over. No one picked me up from work with a cold Diet Dr. Pepper. No one skipped Biology with me for a fall drive up Provo Canyon. No one scowled at me when I raised an objection during religion lectures. We went to class separately just like we were living our lives. We managed to avoid each other on that small campus. I fed cravings of fig newtons and chocolate covered raisins from the bookstore and he gorged at the cafeteria. I studied advertising, he focused on business. The only chance we might cross paths – on days when I was running late and couldn’t face the eight flights of stairs from the distant Y parking lot to my first class. On these days I would brave the elevator in the business building to carry me to the main level of campus. I feared we would run into each other while secretly hoping he would catch a glimpse of my growing belly. Would that make him come to his senses?
So, back to the letter . . . I can do it myself right?! I have, for over twenty years. It is strange to have him finally enter Ky’s life. He is trying to do whatever he can to help. I have to remind myself that he is making up for a lot. I am trying to let him because it makes her happy. I have to admit, the extra help is nice but I can’t help but remember what I said so long ago. I am stubborn just like I was when I wrote the letter. I needed to prove to myself, him and everyone else that I could survive and even strive as a single mom. I didn’t need him. I haven’t needed him. This makes me wonder, should I feel guilty when he hands Ky a $100 bill to help pay for books? He just told me about thousands of dollars in legal bills he has to pay. He has six kids for gods sake! Should I be angry and resentful that he wants to help pay for the wedding? If I let him help pay, does he get a say in her life? He didn’t help pay in the beginning. He didn’t get to help choose her name, what religion she followed or where she went to pre-school. Does he get to help in decisions now? Does taking his money give him a say in where she lives, if she finishes school or where she spends Thanksgiving?
NO! Ky is an adult. She makes her own decisions now. She appreciates my guidance and opinion but I am no longer the majority decision maker in her life. Nor is Spermy. Neither of us have a controlling interest no matter what we are providing her. We are both a support system now and I trust her to continue on the path that I started for her so many years ago. I didn’t choose the traditional path, it has been bumpy at times, but the hills and valleys are what have made our lives exciting.
It is all about sacrifices. I am mad at him for the fact that I had to go on WIC to pay for formula and milk. I went to county child services for Ky’s first year immunizations. What humiliations did he face? He continued life for years denying that he was even the father. Maybe he is facing those self imagined looks and snickers now. He finally told his other children about Ky. His neighbors ward members and friends know that he has another child. Did the humiliation catch up with him finally? Does life have a fair payback? I got to spend Ky’s entire life with her. Enjoy the first steps, first words, first dates. He missed that. Sure I was embarrassed to take help from WIC and get free diapers from the University. But I did it to survive. I did it to do it myself without Spermy’s help. Do I feel guilty for letting him give her money and support now? Am I guilty or angry that I am no longer doing it by myself? Screw it! I think I like him helping. I have an extra hundred dollars that I wasn’t expecting. Maybe Ky and I will go shopping for something frivolous with that money we were going to spend on books. Extra help with the wedding means open bar! Welcome back Spermy. It is a pleasure to accept your help now. Maybe I should have taken it years ago. No, I’m glad I was selfish and got Ky to myself. You deserved to wait for her, but I’m glad you’re back.