I have been a single parent for all but 31 days of my son’s 3 ½ years.
9 months of pregnancy, countless midwife appointments, 16 hours of labor and delivery, 4 days in the NICU, numerous ER visits, all without a partner, spouse, father.
I met my son’s father in the almost worst of ways, and the story that unfolded was the kind that sends screaming red flags to start running as fast as possible to anyone with half an ounce of self-esteem.
But, at 32, recently unengaged, drowning myself in booze to continue swimming in a river of denial of a broken life, I ignored all the flags.
I never thought he was “the one.”
Or, that we would last longer than a week.
He was a mere fuck I intended on tossing aside in a week.
the barren trap of hearts never loved-
told me that I should keep him around for just a few more weeks for temporary comfort, fulfillment…
The only child of narcissistic toxic parents, I grew up in condemning charismatic religion, my entire life already spent surviving alone.
I survived everything.
survived my mother’s passion for yearly moves to different cities across three states,
survived going to 15 different schools by 9th grade,
survived being raped and molested by my father’s best friend,
survived my father accepting guilt money for the rape,
survived three years in Baghdad during the peak of the war,
survived by the skin of my teeth, my own mishaps and terrible decisions.
Harm could never come to me in the hands of a singular man.
Two months into “just a fuck,”
I was pregnant while on the Pill.
32, and hardened,
I knew that if I ever wanted children, this was likely my last and only opportunity.
Even if he failed me, well, I’ve always survived, always provided.
Despite the odds, I was quite successful.
Supporting another life would be far too easy.
Hilarious, to think of my arrogance now…
I have a certain uncanny ability to make shit work-
To find a problem, discover a solution, implement a fix.
In business, this knack has been a blessing and a curse, depending on my current boss.
In relationships, this knack has always been a curse.
I could always see the best in the men I dated, and the means in which they could become whole; become the man they were intended to be.
My son’s father had plenty to fix.
And I, had the strength he did not, to believe in him.
We could make it work.
We WOULD make it work.
“Domestic Violence” was a distant, foreign term to me that only applied to “those women” and seriously…???
Who the fuck would have the balls to abuse me…??
I spent 11 months fully believing my blind stupidity until he hit me.
Raped me over the bed,
while forcing me to stare at our 4-month-old son fully awake in his crib.
Then, I stopped believing.
For the first time, my heart knew this was not something I could fix, make better.
Perhaps it was because for the first time,
my heart was responsible for the care and defense of another innocent, pure heart,
and not just my tainted own.
Over a few days, I discreetly removed items from where we lived and moved them to my parents.
On the day that I left him, I waited until he was at work, packed our remaining belongings, and shut the door on an ignorant, daydreaming heart.
What followed in the months after was a drama better left for novellas, Maury Povich, and many, many blog posts…
I wrangled my way through a justice system that told me it, “did not care what happened to you-
he is still the father, with rights-
and he did nothing to your son.”
I wrangled my way through my personal demons,
demons of a justice system bent on denying a woman safety, freedom, and security.
Almost four years later, there truly are no victors-
Rarely is there a day that I do not pay a certain price-
toll, if you will-
for my freedom,
for my son’s freedom from generational patterns.
fare is collected and deposited into an unknown future trust.
Not once have I regretted the decision to have my son.
To leave his father in the dust.
My regret has been solely isolated to knowing that it took the birth of my son,
the ensuing years of struggle,
for me to truly love myself,
while he innocently has paid the price with interest.
For now, due to his young age,
I have the privilege of personally making principle payment for him.
But, I know the day will come-
sooner than I wish, or choose-
that my son will ultimately have to pay the price of my former self-hatred.
It is now my duty to collect as much of that fare as possible before his due date.
It is now my duty to share with,
and hopefully inspire,
to move beyond the self loathing to a place of true self love-
before they too find themselves at the toll booth…
And if you have already paid your price,
if you are finding yourself with empty pockets,
staring at the toll booth,
we can continue forward on an alternate route of