Thursday, October 4, 2012

A year ago...

An iced capp got me pregnant.

Well sort of...

A year ago, at the start of October, I met someone for an iced cappuccino at Tim Hortons (It's my favourite. People always say "Let's meet for coffee" but I don't drink coffee.) I expected it to be a casual date, just an interesting conversation at a Tim's. A first date with a boy I met online. No big deal. I didn't expect it to set off a chain of events that would change the course of my entire life.

Of course if I had been even remotely rational or cautious or had even a shred of self-protectiveness, I wouldn't have made a date with Mike. I'd learned his history from emails back and forth online and speaking with him on the phone. I knew he was from the wrong side of the tracks, that he had a tragic childhood which translated into some HUGE issues as an adult. I was looking for a boyfriend. He was, by his own admission, a walking disaster. Certainly not someone you'd try to build a relationship with. But I was intrigued. I admired his honesty. He tried to warn me he was a mess with nothing to offer. But I always had a soft spot for wounded doves (loved an alcoholic for three years for example) so I threw caution to the wind. Anyway, I figured it couldn't hurt to meet at Tim Hortons for an iced capp. Nothing bad can happen at Tim Hortons, right? The fact that he was a 6'2" blond Scorpio like my previous boyfriend whom I'd also met at a Tim Hortons and who broke my heart to smithereens in the summer should have been a red flag if his checkered past and tortured present wasn't. But I was at the stage in my life where I thought what the heck, just go for it. You only live once. After all, it was on my lifetime "To Do" list to go skydiving, so the risk of falling in love and being hurt again didn't seem that life-threatening in comparison. And it's not as though I planned to fall in love with him. I just thought he'd be an interesting person to meet.

I'd met several unique characters on coffee dates -- a sweet Muslim who still lived with his parents, a smarmy Romanian truck driver, an aging rockstar/elevator man, a (too) young chiselled italian stallion on his birthday, an exhibitionistic werewolf under a full moon -- to name just a few! Most dates didn't lead anywhere. Sometimes they were scary. Sometimes there was no chemistry. Sometimes there was an attraction but they were only after one thing and I needed more than that. I was looking for love. As first dates go, a coffee date is easy and safe (in theory at least). If worse came to worst you'd just finish your iced capp, say goodbye and go on with your life. If good came to best you'd meet the love of your life and live happily ever after. What could it hurt to try? Famous last words.

I almost didn't make it to the date. I was extremely nervous. I nearly backed out. Then at the last minute I got a cramp in my toe (I get these bizarre, extremely painful spasms in my foot where one toe will jump out of place and lock for several minutes. It hurts like a mo-fo and there's really no cure. You just have to ride it out. It's fine if you're home and can writhe on the floor, screaming in pain until it stops. It's much more difficult when you're, say, on a first date at Tim Hortons, hopping around and holding your foot like a spazz.) I almost just stayed in the car but I thought, screw it, I'm here. I'll go in and just tell him why my face is contorted in pain and I'm hopping around with my shoe off. He was a good sport about it.

The date went surprisingly well. He was funny and witty. Candid, sarcastic, fascinating. We hit it off so well that he even talked me into going back to his place to meet his previously unnamed kitten (which I subsequently named Charlie.) Who could resist a kitten? Yes I blundered into his trap. "I live just around the corner. Want to see my kitten and help me name him?" I was like a little girl being lured into a van (except that he didn't have a vehicle or even a license. I was in the driver's seat but only literally. Figuratively he was always in control. I was mesmerized, hypnotized and I fell for him. Hook. Line. Sinker.) So I went back to his place where he basically "kidnapped" me for three days (his word. A joke but not far from the truth.) Not that I wanted to leave. I was his willing prisoner. I cancelled plans I had the next day to stay with him instead. I was caught in his spell. It was the most intense experience of my life. It was happening WAY too fast. I broke all my rules for him. I surrendered body and soul. There were so many red flags. But I was so drawn to him. The chemistry, physically and spiritually, was off the charts. We were the most unlikely couple. At opposite ends of the spectrum entirely. He was the proverbial bad boy. I was always the good girl. They say opposites attract. He called me angel. He was a devil. It was a match made in Heaven (or Hell.)

There were warning signs from the get-go. I guess I chose to ignore them. Some people would say I was asking for it. I just couldn't resist him. There was something dangerous about him that was electrifying to me, something predatory and sinister about him. Yet at the same time he had an unexpected sweet, tender, thoughtful side. It was like petting a tiger (which I actually did once many years ago but there was a trainer nearby to protect me then) not knowing if he's going to purr or bite your arm clean off. I'd never felt so alive. It was intense, passionate, horrifying, exhilarating. I'd never seen anything like it. I was in love. He told me that he knew when we met we were meant to be together.

Two weeks later he moved in with me. He had suggested it and I initially said no, that it's crazy (because it was!) but eventually gave in, partly because I hated where he was living and partly because I was so enamoured with him I would have done anything for him. So I agreed to let him and his animal entourage (a pitbull and two cats) move in with me and my two cats. An instant family of 7.

A month later, I was pregnant with his child. I couldn't believe it. I was 42. You don't get pregnant that easily at 42! But I did. This baby was meant to be. I had never planned to have children. The closest I came to being a Mom was dating men that had kids (which I had done a couple of times and I did LOVE their kids but I felt more like a friend than a mother to them.) I just never saw myself as a mother. I didn't think I was mature enough, responsible enough. I didn't know it was something I wanted. Until I took that pregnancy test after missing the first period of my life. Almost instantly my maternal instincts kicked in. I was going to have a baby and I loved her. I wanted to protect her. To do all the right things for her. My whole perspective changed. I wasn't living for me anymore. I was living for someone else. I had always been afraid of commitment (probably why I sabotaged relationships and had a tendency to seek out relationships that were doomed from the start) but now I was completely committed to my baby. I realized what real love is.

Mike said he was going to stick around, said that he loved me and was excited about the baby but 4 months into the pregnancy he apparently got cold feet (or something else happened which I'll never know because he disappeared without so much as a word of explanation. Not even a note. Not a call. Not an email. Nothing even to this day) and took off. It was devestating at first until I realized it was a blessing not to have him around. He was more of a burden than a help and Michelle and I are far better off without him.

Maybe it wasn't the iced capp that got me pregnant. Maybe it was the balloon... After celebrating my mother's birthday (two days after his, strangely enough) Mike was joking around, picked up a balloon and shoved it under my sweater like a pregnant belly. I screamed and pulled it out. "Don't put that into the universe!" But it was too late. A week later my period was replaced by an exclamation point. I was pregnant. I had never missed a period in my life. Not even in my 9 year relationship. This guy gets me knocked up inside of a month! And in my 40s when I'm not even supposed to be very fertile anymore! (He was younger though, 31 years old and apparently the most fertile man on earth!) I guess it just had to be. For whatever reason. He was the one to give me my Michelle.

It stings (he was a scorpion after all) but it's bittersweet. Sometimes I think about everything that's happened and I cry. Then I look at Michelle and smile. He was the worst thing that ever happened to me but he led to the best thing. So how can I completely hate him? I don't know how he could do what he did and live with himself. I don't know if he's just forgotten about us or if he's haunted. I don't know if he was just heartless or a coward or whether he was trying to do the right thing because he was a mess and wasn't fit to be a father. I guess I'll never know. Of course I hated him at first. But at some point you have to let the anger go, for your own sake. Forgive means to loosen, to untie. Holding on to resentment and rage keeps you a prisoner. Forgiving someone who has wronged you, sets you free. I hate what he did but I don't hate him. How can I not be at least somewhat grateful to him for this unexpected gift, this miracle? Michelle wouldn't exist without him. And I can't imagine life without her now. She is my life. If I had a time machine and could go back I would not undo it. I couldn't because I adore Michelle more than anyone or anything I've ever known on this earth. I know that she was meant to be.

One day Michelle may ask me about her dad. I'm not sure what I'll say. I suppose I'll just have to tell her the truth. That I don't know. I don't know why he left the way he did. Maybe I can hazard a guess. He was a broken boy and I couldn't fix him. He never had a family, never had a home, never had a love he could believe in. Maybe he didn't think he deserved it so he threw it away when he finally found it. He didn't know how to be happy. He stepped out of the way so that we could be. He didn't want to drag us down. That's what I'd like to believe.

Life is such a crazy, cruel, beautiful, magical wild ride you just have to love it, survive it, see where it takes you. I couldn't have imagined it would lead me here but I know this was my destiny all along. I don't know why it had to be him of all people. Something in his DNA that I needed to combine with mine to make this extraordinary little human that I adore.

Throughout your life there are so many choices and decisions. Some are monumental. Others seem deceptively small. Going for coffee, or an iced cappuccino, with someone seems like a pretty insignificant life decision in the scheme of things. But one small act can change everything.

I believe in Fate. I believe people come into your life for a reason. Some are meant to stay, others are meant to go. Some are just there long enough to give you what you need -- a lesson, a gift, whatever it may be. I was looking for love and I have found it, in a way I least expected. Not with Prince Charming, but with a Princess. My angel. My little girl.


  1. Heartbreakingly beautiful post...what you said about red flags, the way I see it, we as women see the red flags but instead of them setting off alarm bells for us we stand there & and say, "oh look at all the pretty red flags!"

    1. Thank you so much. This was one of the hardest posts to write. Reliving that night last October that started it all. Then I almost didn't post this but I figured, I've gone this far baring my soul to the world, wearing my heart on my sleeve, so why break a habit? I get it out & I'm free of it...I'm still glad it happened. Even though he ripped my heart out & shredded it I have no regrets. I am blessed. I have Michelle.