Reservation for One

   I never really give my status as a single parent too much thought. I don’t think it’s a big deal, honestly. I have an old high school friend who got married when she was 16 and is still currently married and getting ready to bring her fourth child into this life. I’m really proud of her for staying in her marriage at the age of 23 and becoming one of the best moms I know. But that lifestyle isn’t for me.

     Amani’s father and I met when I was barely 17 years old. My mom and I were arguing all the time because I was in my “you don’t let me do anything” phase and my mom was in her “helicopter parenting” phase. At that time I didn’t talk to her the way mother and daughter should because I felt like anything I said would be rejected and I would get yelled at. Amani’s father is much older than me. He was 49 when we met although he told me he was 36. I didn’t think I’d ever wind up having a baby with this man, let alone sleep with him. In my mind he was a nice man  who was willing to listen to me moan and groan about my problems. But he had other intentions.
     Three months after H and I got involved with each other, I got pregnant. He wasn’t upset or anything. He acted like everything was going to be ok. When I told my aunt I was pregnant and who I was pregnant by, she forbid me from seeing him. Period. I still called him, he sent me money, and I went behind my aun’t back and saw him twice during my pregnancy. I thought he had a right to see his baby growing inside of me.Yes I knew that he had done something wrong by getting a teenage girl pregnant but he didn’t do it by himself. I let my aunt dictate my pregnancy and because of it, my daughter and her father are not as close as they should be.
     The reason we parted ways was because he wants to be married and I don’t. Plus, I don’t love him like you would if you’re going to marry someone. I love him because he’s part of Amani but I’m only interested in co-parenting with him. When Amani spent a week in the hospital for a minor kidney infection, H said he would come and he never showed. When he finally called to check on Amani, she was much better and out of the hospital. He asked about her and my response was ” She could have died for all you know. Why didn’t you come see her?” He said “Oh, I got really sick and needed to go to the hospital”. MORON, YOU WERE COMING TO THE HOSPITAL ANYWAY!!!! It was that incident plus other little things that have kept me from making a bigger effort for Amani to see her father. When she’s with him, everything is fine. She laughs with him and talks to him. She’s always a little distant but that’s expected. We don’t argue in front of her and we are a united front. Then he won’t call to check in on her for weeks. I don’t want Amani to get attached to him, only to get disappointed.Some may say I’m wrong but I just want to protect my child’s feelings.
     I do sometimes question if me not letting Amani spend more time with H is hurting more than helping but the he disappears for weeks and that reaffirms that I’m doing the right thing. He moves without telling me changes jobs, quits jobs so he doesn’t have to pay child support which i dont harass him about anyway. I wish things were different for Amani’s sake but I’ve learned to do the best that I can as her mother and not try to be her father.She’s surrounded by positive male role models and that’s the best I can do.

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