Just by the fact that our lives are a multitude of choices, we will always have regrets in life. I am definitely not a stranger to bad judgment. Every December 1st, I am reminded of at least one mistake that I have made in the past. Oddly enough, I have mentally blocked out a lot of the information surrounding it willingly over for the last decade. There is a long story involved but I'm going to keep it as brief as I can and probably never mention it again.
I was married once. As a child of divorced parents, I had this weird resolve that I could do better... I could bend more, give more, be more but I was young and foolish. She was a beautiful, strong and outgoing woman that never let much affect her. We had an on-again-off-again relationship for quite some time before I wound up being one of her roommates. I got to know her better and felt that I was there during some of her tough times. When she told me she was going to move out of town, I gave her the option to stay and go to school while I cover her rent. You see, I knew I loved her. Before that offer, we weren't officially a couple and she had been determined to leave.
A short time later, we were driving back from seeing Duran Duran in concert and I can still remember that Erasure's latest single "Always" was playing on the radio when she mused about when her last period was. Yes, she was pregnant. I proposed several days later at a Pizza Hut (romantic, huh?) and we had a quick small ceremony with hopes of a bigger one at another time. It was months later that I could see something was bothering her. She told me that there was a possibility that I wasn't the baby's father as, she was single when she was planning to leave and she had said goodbye to someone in a very special way prior to that offer I made to stay. This floored me. But, I quickly reassured her that I loved her and told her that just being her child would make him mine also. She then asked me not to ask for a blood test, fearing that I would treat the baby differently if it wasn't mine. I told her that if it meant that much to her, I wouldn't (heck, inside I had no idea how I'd react to a child let alone if he wasn't biologically mine) but I wasn't concerned because it was our child. Cody William Hennessy was born on December 1st.
My wife stayed at home for the first months with Cody. He was an amazingly beautiful boy and looking at his photo above, I still see a lot of her in him. He was my little bear. A lot of things changed when her mother moved in to 'get on her feet' after moving to town. She went to work, bought a new car, our communication broke down, walls were put up, insecurities built and our marriage suffered. In retrospect post-partum depression very well could have been involved but I can't accept that I had no hand in it. There were times when I returned home that he was the only smiling face that was happy to see me. I can still remember that it was just prior to his first birthday that she first mentioned separation. She was happy around me but depressed when I wasn't around. Her mother moved out first and my wife followed. I asked about us seeing a counselor but that didn't happen.
After a few months, my wife told me that she could get several grants for school as a single mother and prior to her filing for divorce she asked me to meet her at work to talk. She told me that she was sure that Cody wasn't mine and that if I pushed for custody of him she would take him and run. That was the last thing that I wanted. She had mentioned that he wasn't mine a few times before but there in my head, I still had hoped to reconcile. I still had hopes after signing the papers and then I made the one mistake I will always regret and be haunted by every Dec. 1st. I gave up my rights to my son. I can't blame being young and ignorant for my mistake. Sure, I was still talking to her about us being together afterwards. I was an idiot.
My ex called our old apartment a few months later (although she had my pager number and knew that I had moved in with my father) to pass on a cryptic message to a friend of mine to meet her at a laundromat on Tamarus and Tropicana as she was moving out of state. I was freaked out but knew that there was little I could do. So I went 'there'... but 'there' wasn't a laundromat. Just like playing the game telephone, information was jumbled and I expect that Topaz and Tropicana was the real location. Her number was disconnected (she was moving) and that message was the last thing I heard from either of them.
Sure, I've thought over the growing years to hunt them down (somewhere in Colorado) and find out if they are doing alright, need anything or even to get a blood test. But, I also know that the last thing I want to do is uproot or destabilize that child's life. I do hope he knows that he is loved... by many that may never see him again and that he is a very special child. Happy 10th birthday, Cody Hennessy.