December 24, 2010 would be the last time I’d see baby JT for a long time.
I knew that us having him for Christmas was because his mom Anngie (not her real name) had to work. She wasn’t going to let us have him again.
And when I say we wouldn’t get to see him, she didn’t allow Steve to see him for several months after that day. Previously, Steve was able to go to her house to see JT and this was an agreement that they had, until she unexpectedly flipped a switch. They had not been to court to establish legal agreement about parenting time.
I try to imagine how I would feel if I was her, yet I had no idea what she was like. How would I feel if I became pregnant and ended up not being with the father? I often wondered what her voice sounded like, how she carried herself, her attitude and what she was like. I can imagine she was bitter in this situation because she was not with the father of her child. Perhaps that was her dream and now the father of her child was with someone else, someone younger, which I imagine had to sting. Anngie was older than Steve, five years older to be exact.
For legal purposes and for his own well-being, Steve completed a paternity test. He was JT’s father. Both Anngie and Steve completed paperwork for child support and what they call “parent visitation” time.
It always sounded so ridiculous to me that it was called “parenting time” because it made it sound more like an obligation rather than a privilege. Steve’s time with his son was never an obligation. He always beamed after spending time with him. I could see and feel the love he had for JT. He wanted to spend more time with him, but unfortunately the time he’d spend with JT above his designated “parenting time” would all be determined by Anngie. The ball was in her court and she maintained offensive possession the whole time.
In my opinion, Anngie was hurt and angry. As sad as it is, some parents use their children as leverage in situations when they do not get along. I don’t ever think that is right or fair to the child. Sometimes these same parents try to pass their behavior off as “protecting their child” and in this situation, protection wasn’t warranted. JT wasn’t in danger.
Steve was the type of dad that loved his son with everything he had. He longed to spend more time with him, to be there for him, to provide for him, to guide him and to raise him up in Christ, and to be the father figure that all children need.
The amount of time Steve would get to spend with JT would be determined by a judge in a courtroom up until the age of two. After that, they would go to mediation and try to reach an agreement with a parenting consultant.
She couldn’t control his feelings, who he loved and who he wanted to be with and if she couldn’t have Steve, Steve wouldn’t have JT either.
Fall came and went, and Christmas was just right around the corner.
I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday, and no, not because of the gifts. I love Christmas because it’s the time of year when I get to see all of my relatives and I get to have quality time with my family and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
This year would be different though. I would be celebrating in a way that I would have never imagined.
It was December 2010, this would be baby JT’s first Christmas and he’d be spending it with us.
This would be the first time Steve would have JT on his own, in his house. This was also the first time I’d meet baby JT.
Up until this point, what I knew of JT was the stories and pictures that Steve had shared with me. I had imagined for so long, what he’d be like, how he would respond when he first saw me. I was happy that this day was finally here, yet I was torn because my parents still didn’t know about him. I was still keeping him a secret from my parents and it was hard not to share everything about this day with them.
This was a major milestone in our relationship because JT would physically be a reality to me. He’d no longer be a babe I’d have to imagine or wonder about, but I’d be able to see him and interact with him for the first time.
I have to admit I was a little nervous because I felt like meeting JT meant that I was “all in” with this relationship, when to be honest, I was still wrapping my head around how I truly felt about everything.
I didn’t know if being a step-mom was in God’s plan for my life. I had never imagined that would be a role that I’d have, yet I couldn’t help but imagine if this was our family. I had to truly think about and more so, pray about if this was right for me.
I never pictured myself dating anyone that had had sex before, much less had a child. Here I was, doing exactly what I never thought I’d do. I went round and round with these thoughts and worries in my head. I had wished so many times there was a clear cut answer.
Steve’s mom Lisa spent the night at JT’s mom’s house the night before we’d have him for Christmas since JT’s mom had to work early the next morning.
I went over to Steve’s early that day to prepare for our Christmas with Steve’s parents and his roommate Chris. I organized and got things ready while Steve went to pick up his mom and JT.
It felt like he was gone forever as I paced around his town home trying to find something to keep me busy.
I heard the front door open and in walked Steve’s mom, Steve, and in his hands was this sweet babe zipped up in his cozy little snowsuit.
He was about five and a half months old with light blonde hair that couldn’t be tamed. He had the same squinty-eyed smile as his dad.
“Can I hold him?” I asked.
“Of Course,” Steve said.
I couldn’t believe it. I was finally holding this sweet baby boy that I had listened to Steve talk about so many times. He was here and finally I didn’t have to imagine him any longer. He was sweet, joyful and irresistibly lovable. I was already in love with him.
It was time to feed JT a bottle. Steve being the new dad that he was, forgot the milk at JT’s mom’s house.
We bundled JT back up and into the car we went. Steve, his mom Lisa, myself and baby JT making 30 minute drive in the snow.
We could finally spend the day together. We enjoyed great food, opened gifts, and I even got to rock JT to sleep.
This was a perfect day. I was happy to meet JT and that both Steve and I could have him at his house. Of course a baby is easy to love, but I needed to make sure my love for this child didn’t cloud my judgement.
I continued to pray about the whole situation, waiting for an answer.