I’ll be there for you, these five words I swear to you
When you breathe, I want to be the air for you
I’ll be there for you
I’d live and I’d die for you
I’d steal the sun from the sky for you
Words can’t say what love can do
I’ll be there for you
I know you know we’ve had some good times
Now they have their own hiding place
Well I can promise you tomorrow
But I can’t buy back yesterday – Bon Jovi
The silence in the car was deafening after I told Dylan that Eric was his father. It might not have been the most ideal way, but the information was out there, and I felt a minor relief at it. Given my lifestyle and choices, I had been in very tense situations before, but never had one been as thick as the one in that car.
I had no idea how Dylan was going to react to my news. I had no idea how Eric would react to Dylan’s reaction. I had no idea how I needed to react for my son. There were so many variables and I swear my brain went through hundreds of possibilities of might what happen in only been a few seconds.
“What’s dat mean?” Dylan finally asked. He didn’t burst into tears. He didn’t start to throw a tantrum. He simply asked a question. That I could deal with, or at least I felt as if I could.
“It means your Mommy and I…” Eric started, but I quickly ended his train of thought. I was all for telling children where babies came from…at age-appropriate intervals, but it was not a topic I wanted to muddle our already complicated situation.
My son already had had quite the sex education experience after he found his aunts’ vibrator in their open drawer.
Fortunately, before I even tried to answer his question in a different way than Eric was projecting it, my practically three-year-old son asked, “Isn’t like a mommy but a boy?” That took me back to the conversation I had with him before. I had previously tried gauging where his knowledge and ideas on fathers stood and he told me something very similar.
Leave it to a child to uncomplicate something.
“Yes. That’s exactly what it means!” I said, my voice filled with excitement. My excitement didn’t last too long once I caught the look on Dylan’s face. I was left confused. He seemed fine with this information before he came face to face with his own father. Obviously, I realized this would take some getting used to and there would be difficult questions asked. I hadn’t considered that confirming something previously discussed would have elicited the expression on my son’s face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
Instead of answering me, my son had a question for Eric. “Where was you?”
I had not tried to hide my past from my son. He knew I had made some ‘bad’ choices in the past and that Sophie-Anne helped to make sure I didn’t make those choices again. I had decided that age-appropriate honesty was the best way to go with my past drug use as well. I didn’t want to hide my past from Dylan and I hoped Eric didn’t either, but I had no control over what Eric chose to share with anyone.
Even our son.
I looked at Eric, wishing he was a mind reader. Then I changed my mind. I didn’t want to influence him in any way. He had to be ready to share his past. He had shared some with me, but Eric knew I understood that kind of life. Dylan really didn’t, and he was only three. Additionally, Eric wanted his son to like him, so he may not have wanted Dylan to know about his past.
All those thoughts flew out of my head once I saw Eric’s face. I hadn’t realized how difficult that question would be for him. If he knew I was pregnant, if he knew about Dylan, I believe it would have changed something. He would have attempted sobriety, attempted being a parent long before he had. I remembered his response when he found out he had a son and it hadn’t been good, but I doubted anyone would have responded well to what Eric had blindly walked into. I know it killed a part of him that he missed out on the first years of Dylan’s life.
We just had to make sure he didn’t lose out on anymore. That started with making sure this conversation went as well as it could.
“Dylan, may I come back there and sit next to you?” Eric asked suddenly. I was relieved he filled the silence and so happy he had come up with a great idea as I sat there, my head as empty as it had ever been.
“Why?” Dylan asked.
“I have to tell you something very important,” Eric explained.
“And you want my eyes to see your eyes,” our son replied. That was something I said often when I needed Dylan’s strict attention. It told him I was serious.
“Exactly. You are a very smart boy,” Eric said, and Dylan smiled. Compliments went far with Dylan.
“I am,” Dylan said proudly. “You can thit there,” he said with his little lisp. It was getting better but his ‘s’ sounds were still hit or miss.
“Thank you,” Eric said before he got out of the car and moved into the back where he and Dylan could more easily look at each other during their conversation. I was more than happy to allow Eric to have this moment with his son. I would only intervene if I thought it was in Dylan’s best interest.
The two looked at each other and if I thought Dylan resembled his father when I saw his eyes, it was nothing on their profiles. Dylan’s head might have been much smaller, but, feature for feature, he matched his father. There was no denying the two were related, even if I wanted.
“I know I have not been around,” Eric started by saying.
“Nope,” Dylan said in agreement.
“I am sorry for that,” Eric said. “There was a little bit of confusion. Your mommy was looking for me and I looked for her, but we could not find each other.”
“You were losted.”
“In more ways than one,” Eric responded. “See, while I looked, your mommy started to make better decisions. I did not.”
“You need to make good decisions,” Dylan said. He pronounced the ‘s’ correctly that time. “Were you in a time out?”
“I was,” Eric told him. This was the first time I had really seen Eric interact with a child. More than that, it was his child and I was witnessing his own instincts as a father. We agreed on a lot, Eric and I, but listening to him tell his son that he was in a time out, I understood he was speaking of his time in jail. I could see that we understood being as honest as we could with Dylan. It was something that made me very happy.
“When I got out of time out, I still did not make the best decisions.”
“You did not learn your lethon,” Dylan said as he shook his finger at Eric. I tried not to do that when I spoke with Dylan because I didn’t like it done to me, but I guess I needed to work a little harder.
“No, I did not,” Eric agreed, “not for a long time.”
“Did you learn your lethon now?”
“I am trying,” Eric said honestly. “For you and your mother, I am trying.”
“Okay,” Dylan said. “Can we go get battries now?”
Eric looked to me very confused. He may have had some parental instincts, but he obviously had no idea how quickly a child Dylan’s age could lose interest. It seemed as if Dylan had the attention span of a fly or became obsessive over something. There really was no in between.
“Yes, we can go get batteries,” I told Dylan. There was no point in forcing the conversation, especially if Dylan seemed okay with it. It likely wouldn’t have ended as positively.
Eric still looked confused, but he got out of the car and continued to drive to the store. “Dylan?” He said in question.
“Hmm,” Dylan responded as he watched the trees going by his window.
“Is it okay if I come and play with you sometimes?” Eric asked. I didn’t like how unsure his voice sounded. He was still so sure Dylan was about to reject him and that would be the end. I knew my son pretty well and I didn’t think Eric was about to get a ‘no’ and even if he did, I planned on making sure these two got to know each other.
“Sure.” Dylan’s answer was a simple one to him, but to both Eric and I it was anything but. I took Eric’s hand in one of my own and with the other one, I leaned over to wipe the tear that escaped Eric’s eye from his face. I fought very hard to keep my own in my eyes. I knew if I started, Eric wouldn’t have been able to hold his back.
“What your name?” Dylan asked.
“Eric. Remember, that was what your mom said?”
“No,” Dylan said, and I watched him shake his head when I looked back at him. “Mommy is mommy. What I call you?”
I knew what Eric wanted to say and I couldn’t have denied I agreed with him, but instead he said, “You can call me whatever you want.”
For a three-year-old, that is never a good thing.
I knew what Eric was attempting. He didn’t want Dylan to feel forced to call him Dad after he just met him, which was so very generous. Toddlers, however, do not deserve so much power when naming people. Stuffed animals? Sure. Pets? Maybe. People? Hell, no!
“Dinothaur!” Dylan yelled excitedly.
I was about to suggest that Dylan maybe stick to Eric, but Eric said, “Dinosaur, it is.
I guess we were going with ‘Dinosaur.’
The rest of the battery trip went well. Fortunately, the store had hearing aid batteries, which was the size that the car needed. Even better, after we got home, we were all thrilled to find out that the car lights still worked! I think Eric was the happiest of all of us. He felt that it was the first thing he gave his son and he was so happy it worked.
I let the two of them play, only interacting whenever my arm or leg or breast (that was Eric), turned into a road for the cars. It was how Pam and Amelia found us when they returned. I thought Pam was going to cry, but she seemed to be able to hold herself together once Amelia took her hand.
“Who is this?” Amelia asked. They both really wanted to know how far our introduction had gone.
“Dinothaur!” Dylan screamed loudly. Neither of them seemed to know how to respond to that.
“It is what he wants to call me,” Eric said proudly.
“Yeth. He is my daddy and he is making good decisions,” Dylan explained.
That was when Pam could no longer hold back her tears.
We all ate dinner together, but then it was time to get Dylan to bed. Eric had a meeting to go to and I knew he was torn, but I was happy he chose the meeting. Dylan would be there, but he needed to continue to see to his sobriety.
As we said our goodbyes, Dylan asked, “Dinothaur, do you want to come to my birfday?”
“Definitely. I would not miss it. I will be there for you whenever you want me, Dylan,” Eric said.
“Okay,” Dylan said as he continued to ‘drive’ his cars.
“You have to take it as it is,” I told him when he looked at me.
“Live in the moment,” he said.
“I finally have a moment I want to live in.”
Though I had had many moments I wanted to live in since the birth of my son, there, in that moment, I had something I had wanted for years…
…“There are so many children,” Eric said in disbelief.
“Only fifteen more minutes. Then it’s just family,” I reminded him. We had invited some of his friends from daycare but, at the age of three, they were only there for an hour. It was just enough time to sugar them up and give them back to their parents. Then, it was just those of us who lived on the property, along with Gran and Jason.
“Besides, Jason’s tiring them all out,” I added. My brother was in his glory. He was an amazing uncle to Dylan and was currently rolling around on the ground, letting the children climb all over him.
“Yes. I will have to thank him.”
“Come on,” I teased as I gently elbowed him. “They’re cute.
“Our son is cute.”
“The cutest,” I agreed.
“The others are bearable.”
“I guess that’s something. We have many more birthdays to celebrate, you know?”
“When you put it like that, I am very happy to share this day with everyone.”
Yes, Dylan made it to another birthday and that was so worth celebrating. I’d take entertaining and feeding hundreds of children if it meant celebrating another birthday with him.
That didn’t mean I wasn’t happy when it was just family.
“I am surprised you did not get hurt with them jumping on you,” Eric said to Jason and he made a pointed gesture to a specific part of my brother’s anatomy.
Jason reached into his pants and before I could avert my eyes, he pulled his hand out with something in it. “I wear a cup,” he explained. “It was something I learned last year.”
Eric nodded and said, “Something I will have to remember.”
Their relationship was very much a work in progress. Jason may have welcomed me back with open arms in my sobriety, but Eric was another story. He didn’t blame Eric for my addictions. Jason had been there as I fell down that rabbit hole and knew I was there before I met Eric, but Eric had still been the one to knock me up and leave me alone. Even with the circumstances, it was not something Jason took lightly.
Gran, on the other hand, was where Eric was welcomed back with open arms. I think that was more for her great grandson, but I couldn’t be sure.
I ‘forced’ Dylan to have some ‘real’ food (a hot dog), before the cake. We had given the children cupcakes and had sung, but it wouldn’t have been Dylan’s birthday without Gran’s cake.
“Only one this year,” Amelia whined. Case in point: She was used to Dylan having a ‘smash’ cake and a second for the adults.
“Never,” my Gran said with a wink as she took Amelia to the refrigerator and showed her the second cake she made.
“I love you!” Amelia said. She loved her for more than her cake, of course, but food was the easy way to Amelia’s heart.
We sang and most of the cake ended up in mouths, and then Dylan opened presents. I might have been a little jealous when Eric’s was the clear winner. He had made Dylan a sort of race track for his cars and Dylan was most impressed, especially once Eric said he hadn’t painted it yet because he wanted Dylan to pick the colors.
Yes. We still called Eric ‘Dinosaur.’ It seemed to work, though.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Jason and Gran. Dylan gave them big hugs and so did I. “We’ll drive out next weekend,” I told them.
“Now it’s time for the birthday boy to go to bed,” I said.
“But, it’s my birfday,” he whined.
“That’s why you don’t need a bath,” I told him. Dylan thought they were the worst. “It’s also why it’s already past your bedtime.”
“You got to stay up like a big boy!” Eric told him.
“I am a big boy!”
“Yes, you are!” Eric agreed.
“Will you tuck me in, Dinothaur?”
“You do not even have to ask,” Eric said. “Of course, I will.” So, the three of us said good night to Pam and Amelia and we went back to my place.
I tried to follow them upstairs and was told no, so I got my hug and kiss before the two went upstairs. As thrilled as I was for Eric, I hope Dylan let both of us put him to bed soon.
Eric came back down later than I would have. I overheard Dylan talking him into three books instead of the usual two, and he had had numerous water and bathroom breaks. It was a lesson I would let Eric learn all on his own.
Eric came and sat on the couch next to me and said, “Thank you.”
“You have to stop doing that. He’s yours and as long as I don’t have a reason, I’m not keeping him from you.”
“I am not just talking about Dylan. You have given me a chance. You have given me the family I always wanted. You allowed me back in your life as more than simply Dylan’s father. For that, I will always be grateful. I plan on being here for as long as you will have me.”
“That’s good,” I told him. “Because I plan on having you for a very long time,” I added as I leaned in for a kiss. Instead of his lips though, I found his finger.
“None of that,” he said with a smirk. “We still have a few more months.”
“We can have a simple kiss,” I said. Okay, it might have been more like a whine.
“If you kiss me right now, I cannot guarantee I will stop at a simple kiss,” he said with a pointed look.
“How many more months?” I grumbled.
“Too many,” He said with his own grumpiness.
“Goodnight,” he said as he pressed a kiss to my head.
I had many reasons to go to bed smiling that night.
I woke up to the phone ringing and saw it was before 6:00 AM. Those calls were never good.
My heart sunk when I heard Jason’s voice on the phone.
“Sookie,” he said. His voice wavered as he told me, “It’s Gran.”
That can’t be good I do hope you enjoyed the chapter…even with the ending. Many thanks for taking the time and reading
Thanks to MsBuffy and all her work and help to make this story more readable and exciting!