Not a Father, a Daddy!
I became a daddy in May of 1988. We were age 17 and 15 when my daughter was born. Four months later we were married. By then I had turned 18, and she was 16.
My son was born 16 months later and 16 months after that, another son! My god, I was 20 with three kids and only one was kinda planned! My third son who was born three years and four months later. My god, I was still only 23, had four kids, and our marriage was on the rocks!
My second child was planned. After that it just cascaded into a broken condom, and then Norplant, which only worked for a couple of years. (We never made the hospital for my last son's birth, but that is another story.) It was 14 months after the birth of my last son that the big split up occurred and of course I became the homeless one. It was one month after my 25th birthday, and weeks before our seventh anniversary. I knew the marriage was over but I could hardly bear to be away from the kids.
I lived in a tent for a few weeks until I found a 15 foot camper to live in. I was ordered to pay child support and was able to see the kids sometimes. I dealt with this for about two months until my ex-wife had another man move in with her. This was too much and I almost lost it. At this point my family gave me the support I needed and I came to Virginia to visit them for Thanksgiving. Within two days I was offered a job and decided to stay so I wouldn't do anything stupid and end up in jail.
It was very hard to be so far away, but it was also good for my personal health. Now I was able to pay my support (working 60 to 70 hours a week) and she could not stop me from seeing the kids. I would travel (sometimes 14 hours on a Greyhound bus) to see them, but they never had a phone so I would only hear from them if my support was late.
Eventually things got easier, I found a girlfriend, but that didn't keep me from feeling responsible for my kids. I vowed to be a daddy and not just a biological father, as a lot of men are. My ex-wife remarried before I even received my divorce papers, but by now it was just the kids I was after.
Even though I heard the stories of the drugs and parties going on at their house there was no evidence (other than my children's grades) and I lived 400 miles away so there was nothing I could do. I just waited, knowing that something would happen, until the day came when my ex and her new husband told me they wanted to move to Virginia. I was so happy that I would be able to see my kids more often, and I knew this would be my key to having their love in person, not just in heart. They wanted to move here and stay at my house a few days until they found an apartment. I could not pass up the chance to be with my kids, so I agreed.
My four children, their stepfather, and my ex-wife moved into my two bedroom trailer the beginning of March 1997. "You must be crazy!" is what I heard from everyone, but a true "daddy" would do anything for his kids. Mommy, daddy and stepfather living in the same house. I just told everybody, "A few days isn't bad, they will find an apartment soon." So I thought. Eventually they did, but left the kids behind. That is when it really gets interesting, so I am going to write that in the next installment.
I have the kids and that is all I wanted. It has been almost two years since they have seen their mother, though she calls once in a while. Thereafter comes my winning battle to receive sole custody, child support, and all the other "daddy" things I have.
Anyone can be a father, but any true dad knows the difference between dads and fathers!
Thanks for listening, and I hope you will read further postings.
--Glenn, AKA Daddy!
God bless all the other daddies out there!
View part two
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