I want the world to see that you'll bewith me.-Hey Soul Sister
“Dad,” I tried to suggest, “What if I just marry Patrick? What if before the end of this year we get married and have a real ceremony for us?”
While I couldn’t even begin to guess what my father’s response would be, at this point I was drowning in confusion over my pregnancy myself, floundering to get to the top in any way for some air. I wanted to make things between Patrick and me better, and somehow getting married seemed like it would at least hold us together for a little bit longer. I’ve always envisioned a certain way and progression all of these things would happen for me—love, marriage, babies—and even though it all was spiraling out of control, things weren’t quite out of my fingertips’ reach yet and I can still put some of the pieces back in place. I can still get married first.
My dad hesitated long and hard over the phone and through the way he was breathing, I just knew he was at a loss for words and scrambling for answers himself. My parents have said all the hurtful things they could have possibly said already so I didn’t know what else could come out of their mouths. Maybe, just maybe, my father will stick his hand underwater to reach for his daughter and pull me out.
“You and Patrick want to get married?” my dad finally asked. “What does he think about this?”
“I want to marry Patrick, Dad. I really do,” and with those words, I shifted the momentum of the events that were unraveling. My dad’s silent response, defeated and helpless, was his way of communicating a reluctant “Okay. You can get married if that is your wish.”
With those words, I opened the floodgates of wedding planning, all before even consulting Patrick on what he saw our future together like, with or without baby. But I did call Patrick immediately after and suggested that marriage was the answer to at least some of the many problems we were and will continue to face.
I had already given up on the whole “’til death,” “everlasting love,” and “through sickness and health” spiel; I just wanted to make it okay for everyone else that I am choosing to keep my baby. And now that we are having a baby together, I wanted to make sure Patrick was willing to see this commitment through since that was what he said he really wanted to do.
“I just need to know,” I told Patrick, “that you will stay with me through all of this. That our baby will have a father.”
“Missy, how many times do I need to tell you that I still love you and want to with you?! And I would have wanted to marry you anyway, even if you weren’t pregnant,” he consoled me. I didn’t want to dissect Patrick’s true motivations—if there were any—for being so compliant with me about our intentions of getting married. All I needed to hear was that he was willing to play along and that was enough for me.
“Fine, okay. We are getting married. I guess you should probably tell your family soon,” I replied with little emotion to my voice. I did care that we were getting married and I was excited even though I tried not to show it much at first. My initial concern was that this was the one thing I could control at the moment and that in it of itself provided enough relief in the whole situation to keep me going for just a bit more.
But you know how during the exchanging of vows the groom oftentimes says the decision to marry his bride was the easiest one he has ever made? Well, through all of this, I still have never felt more uncertain.
* * *
The next day at work, I knew the word about my (scandalous) pregnancy with Patrick’s baby would get out sooner than later so I invited the HR director at my company, Kristine, to dinner to break the news to her in person. It was extremely important that she hear it from me first since, well, she also happens to be my godmother. In fact, I have known her for most of my life.
I wanted her husband, Todd, and my sister, Carly, there as well to lighten the mood of the dinner but Kristine and Todd could already guess that I must have had BIG news to share with them seeing as I put an emergency meeting on everyone’s calendars.
“We know,” Kristine started to say as we sat down at a local Mexican restaurant, “that you are Patrick are getting married. I mean, am I right?”
“Yes,” I softly responded. “And—“
“See, I guessed it! Congratulations! You almost had us thinking it was something a lot worse, like you wanting to quit your job. So where’s your ring?” she asked as she reached over the table to grab my left hand.
“Well, I don’t have a ring yet,” I said as I pulled my hand away from her hold. “You see—“ I couldn’t even begin finishing my sentence before I choking up in a mess of tears.
“You see—“ I tried to say again. And I looked over at Kristine and Todd, my two sweet and super supportive godparents, and both of them were eagerly looking back at me, waiting for the big news it was so critical that I shared with them right now.
To be continued...