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August 22, 2005

The Boy

I am feeling nostalgic today.
I look at The Boy, and I wonder where the last 10 years have gone.
He's turning into a man, and I hope to hell i've done right by him. I think I have, but you always wonder. He has not had an easy time of things, and most of that rests squarely on my shoulders. I never wanted to bring a child into the circumstances that I did, and I have always tried my best to do right by him, but I still worry about the type of man he'll become.

I get compliments on my son. He is extremely polite and respectful. Always 'm'am' or 'sir'.
He has an icredible amount of compassion and empathy for someone his age and cannot bear to see someone hurt, picked on, abused or scared. He protects the weak, and befriends the 'undesirable'. I am truly in awe of my sons depth of feeling and emotion.
A few weeks ago, he flew back to Florida by himself. On this flight, there was a little girl that they seated next to him. As the flight took off, the girl was frightened so much she was shaking. My son moved into the seat next to her, talked to her, comforted her, and shared his beloved gameboy to keep her occupied. The Flight Attendant said he did this the entire flight. The Attendant kept raving about what a fantastic child I had. As the little girls stepped off the plane, she walked over, thanked my son and hugged him. I had tears in my eyes.


When I found out I was pregnant with him, his Father and I were in the process of moving in together and starting a life, together. He was almost 10 years older than I was, and I honestly (stupidly) believed that he would be happy about a child. I mean, we HAD talked about having kids, so I didn't think it would be quite as shocking to him as it was. We weren't trying to have a baby, I mean, I WAS on the pill. But it happened.
Anywho, I found out on Saturday, and I met with Lee on Sunday for a day of fishing out in his boat. By this time, the shock had worn off f me, and I was happy. I couldn't wait to tell him!
We pulled away from the dock and headed up the river towards Lake Erie. The plan was to fish closer to Strawberry Island and the Buffalo canal. Very good fishing spots. After we found a good spot, we pulled out the rods, set them up, and that's when I told him. I'm surprised I waited that long to tell him, but I wanted his full attention when I did. The look on his face upon hearing my wonderful news was one of resentment, disappointment and indifference. He was NOT happy. I tried to explain that it was a fluke, but he refused to listen to me. I did this to HIM. Purposely. I was stunned! He asked me what I planned to do, and I said that I wanted to have it. He wanted me to have an abortion. Clearly, we were on opposite sides. I explained to him that yes, I am pro-choice, and MY choice was to have the baby. He didn't accept that. He kept after me for the rest of the day to have an abortion, but my mind was made up. He never made a real argument for not wanting the baby, he just didn't.
By the end of our boat/fishing outing, he made it clear that if I choose to keep our baby, he wanted no part of it, or me. I gave him the out. I told him that I understood and respected his desire to not be a Daddy, but he needed to respect and understand my decision to become a Mommy. I told him I wanted nothing from him, and that he could walk away free and clear. I would never go after him for child support. I stepped off that boat feeling more alone than I ever had, and even more determined to make a good life for my baby.
Thankfully, I had an easy pregnancy. I knew i'd need alot of money to support myself and my child, so I worked 3 jobs all through my pregnancy. I was able to save a comfortable nest egg, and boy did I need it! During the last trimester, Lee decided he did want to be a part of his child's life. He started coming around, and he even went through Lamaze with me.
When I went into labor, he was in the delivery room with me, and witnessed the birth of our son. After I came home, he stuck around, and even took him from time to time. He seemed to really want to be a Father, and he was pretty good at it. This went on for the first 5 months, then Lee disappeared. I never heard from him, or saw him again after that. Lee's parents had no explanation, and honestly, I didn't ask. I didn't want to put them in the position of having to defend their son's unconscionable actions. His parents were warm and generous of their love and devotion to my son. I didn't want to ruin that relationship. In December, their daughter-in-law died suddenly, and they were overwhelmed with grief. They stopped coming around and calling. It broke my sons heart, and mine. After that, it was just us.
I have since tried to get back in contact with Lee and his parents, at my son's request, but with no luck. It breaks my heart. I wish they could see what a loving, caring young man he's become.

When The Boy was 3, I met my ex-husband. We fell for eachother right off, and we had a long distance relationship for awhile before he asked me to move down to Florida with him.
We moved down, and within 6 months, bought a house. Sometimes Don was very attentive and involved, and other times, he'd get overly frustrated with him. During those times, Don acted more the child than my son did! Unfortunately, I wasn't around for alot of their time together, I was busy working to pay the mortgage. Mine and Don's realtionship was pretty similar. When things were good, they were phenomenally good. When things were bad, it was heart-breakingly bad. He could be the sweetest, kindest, loving man one minute, and the most hateful, sarcastic, evil man the next. We didn't know it then, but he's bi-polar.
After we were married, his mood swings became increasingly harder to handle. He would snap in an instant, and it was usually the smallest thing that would set him off. On a saturday in June, I was sitting in the computer room doing some work when I heard my son come in from outside. The next sound I heard was the worst blood curdling scream I have ever heard in my life. I came running out from the computer room to see Don dragging my son across the floor by his hair. I took off after Don to protect my son, and the next thing I knew, he had me by the throat pinned against the wall. He let my son go, but then used the rest of his weight and height (6'5") to keep me pinned away from him, and any vital organs I was trying to reach. I knew I shouldn't have tried to fight him while I was pinned down, but I couldn't help it. He hurt my son!!!!! No, I was determined to put a serious hurt on this asshole. So yea, eventually, I tired out. When he finally did let me go, he locked himself in the bedroom and called the police. He told them that I had threatened him., which isn't a total lie. I DID threaten to kill him, several times. When the police arrived, I was told to either vacate the premises or go to jail. They had no interest in hearing what I had to say.
So we left. I went back only to get our belongings.
Don's behavior after that incident was beyond erratic. He would alternate between telling me he was sorry and he loved me, to threatening to 'get' me or my son. Don became obsessed with him, and I was terrified for my son. My family offered to take him for the summer while all this shit was happening, and for that I am eternally grateful. However, what was only supposed to be a 2 month visit turned into my son living up north for 9 months.
It was the worst! I wanted my son and he wanted to come home.
Eventually I was able to bring my son home, and we started over.

I worry about the effect all this had on him. I know he was hurt, angry, confused.
I can never take back the events that took place, and I don't know if I will ever forgive myself for not protecting him better. I can only hope that someday he understands, and forgives me.
During all these ups and downs, my son always had my brothers, and my Dad to help guide him. I may be his Mother, but he's a 'guy'. There are some things I couldn't 'teach' him.
The Boy is very much attached to Ken and Lanny, but it's my Dad that he really idolized.
Now it's also The Common Law.
The Common Law and The Boy have taken to eachother better than I could have ever imagined. He has shown him how to play ball, fish, but more importantly, he's showing him what being a man is all about.

So far, he has become a loving, warm, generous, resilient person, but I think I will always worry.

2 Comments:

At 10/8/05, 8:25 PM , Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',

Neil

 
At 10/9/05, 9:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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