When I was fifteen I was seeing seven different boys that all thought I was their girlfriend. My physical prowess being naive made me fall just short of the title skank and landed me squarely in the category of extremely fickle. I enjoyed dating. I enjoyed gifts on Valentine’s Day in multiples. I especially loved spending all the money I saved on the weekends, due to free entertainment, on myself. I feel a little guilty now.
When Paul and I met I had just been broken up with for the first time. It only took 20 years for me to find someone that I loved. When that boy told me he loved me and then abruptly changed his mind it was catastrophic. Kharma is so nasty. Nasty enough to warrant a period of avoidance of public gatherings and a routine of Wheel of Fortune, romantic comedies and ice cream self medicating. All of this that eventually caused my father to remind me that if no one ever loved me, he always would.
With his words came my bouncing back. In my own curious survival style I began to heal up, lose weight and laugh at life. I was done with games now that I had been stung. However, trusting has never come easily to me. My fierce independence and childhood baggage make the feeling of needing someone foreign and uncomfortable.
Paul walked into my life and I would swear that I felt him enter the room before I saw him. My mother often jokes that I never came back from our first date. It’s very true. We were inseparable. We moved in to his house. Something I said I would never do. I justified the decision based on the fact that he said he loved me and that he wanted to marry me. I trusted him.
Eleven months into our relationship my period was late. Actually, that’s only a piece of the story. During those 11 months Paul wrote me love notes, he took me white water rafting, camping and even let me tell him what colors to paint the rooms in his home. We gardened, which was a first for me. I met his family and he met mine. Suddenly I began to lose my mind and that’s when I realized that I had missed my period by an entire month.
After spitting perfectly good Chinese food into my napkin, Paul offered the idea that I might be pregnant. I did the laugh that turns into a confused look and then deep thought. When I finally took the pregnancy test I was shocked how quickly that little line blasted bright pink. I carefully place it on the toilet and told Paul we had to wait three minutes.
In those three minutes I began to go over his promises in my mind. A child is the true test of a man’s commitment. I was unmarried and extremely vulnerable. Have you ever seen Maury? I was one step away from welfare checks, full time day care and full time work. I was seeing a future that scared me to death. I was seeing a future based in the possibility that Paul would let me down.
When the three minutes were up we went into the bathroom to “see” what the results were. I waited for Paul’s response like the guillotine in an execution scene. Paul looked at me and immediately his response was excitement, joy, love and a bit of trepidation. His response allowed me to be happy about having a baby.
This is my Paul. He is honest and good. He has flaws and gets on my nerves more times than I would ever tell any of you, but he is always here. When he says he is going to help me, he does. When he says it will be done, it is. He is as dependable as an old clock and as steadfast as biter biscuits on a babies face.
I don’t trust him. Not completely. I choose to, every now and again, take a leap and tell him what I need. I ask him for help, I allow myself to need him and he loyally steps up to the plate. Paul is a good man and a man of his word. He proves it everyday by always supporting us, always coming home and always loving us. I do not consider myself a stupid woman but this is a lesson that for me, may take a lifetime to learn.