Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A graduate, a bride and a baby....

Just before graduation, my parents had put our house on the market. Once again, my dad was moving us to Florida. Let me just add in here, that I didn't get pregnant just so I wouldn't have to move to Florida.
However, I didn't want to move. I had been dating Bob for sometime and I didn't want to loose what we had. I really didn't have a plan for when my parents were gone. But I knew I didn't want to move to Florida. So this just added shock and surprise to them when they found out I was pregnant. This announcement just added to the stress and tension that was hovering in our home. The move, graduation, a wedding and now a baby.
Sad, actually, but I am being honest here. This is how I was feeling. I didn't want to be around my parents anymore. I didn't want to live with them. Don't get my wrong, both of my parents were good parents. My sister, brother and I didn't want to for anything. We had a great childhood. But there was times when my parents would fight so much that it wore on me. I couldn't handle the fighting, screaming and yelling all the time. The worst part of it was, when they fought, my mom would fall into a deep depression and stay in bed for days. She would hate the world, us, her kids, my dad and God. She would tell that to our face. But only when she was in one of her moods. All the other quiet times, she was fun to be around.

With graduation over with, and a wedding and a move on the way, you could just imagine how all of this could stress a family out. But we made it through. That's what I love about my family. We have hard times. Face many challenges, but we make it through.
The invitations were sent out, the dress was bought, cake picked out, church was decorated. It was going to be a good day. On the day of the wedding, all my family was in town for the big day. I felt so comforted, loved and secure. All these people were here to support me, the marriage and my new future. I never knew how much I would appreciate my grandpa on that day. He drove me to the church that morning. It was such a sweet time for us. This was going to be the last time I would ride with him as a single women. It was a bittersweet moment.
I arrived at the church early, to make sure the decorations were in place, the music was ready and so that I could get ready myself. The photographer was there to capture all the before and behind the scenes pictures. My mom helping me with my veil. My cousins helping me with my dress. All the fun things about being the bride.
As family started arriving at the church, I had noticed that his family hadn't showed up yet. The groom hadn't showed up yet either. Was he getting cold feet? Did his parents talk him out of getting married?
In my heart I was ready for this, I wanted this to happen. It was the right thing to do. But, I did have small doubts. Was I doing the right thing? Did I really love this guy? Was I ready to be a wife?
I guess it was to late. He showed up with like 5 minutes to spare. “Jerk!” (red flag)
As everyone got settled in their seats, the doors opened and the wedding march began. It was time.
My dads eyes started tearing up as he walked me down the isle. I was crying. I looked over at my mom, she was crying. I don't know if there was a dry eye in the church. As I looked around at all my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, I couldn't help but feel terribly sad for Bob. He had no family there, except for his parents and brother, who was his best man. It was sad because throughout the last 3 months, while preparing for this day, he wasn't allowed to let any of his family know. He wasn't allowed to have his best friend be his best man. He didn't have the honor of his grandmother, cousins, aunts or uncles to support him on this day. I thought that it was wrong of his parents to punish him that way. But that's who they were. Cold, isolated and selfish. Their son had embarrassed them and didn't think it was right to make it a celebration. It's called forgiveness people. But I would soon learn that they didn't know the meaning of the word.
The ceremony was short and sweet. My cousin sang “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Cheesy yes, but it was the early 90's and it was a very popular wedding song.
After the wedding, we went downstairs for the small reception. Family laughed, and talked, and ate. It was a wonderful time. I even saw his parents laughing with my Aunt. Which I appreciated. I wanted them to feel the love that my family shared for each other, and for others.
After it was all said and done, I was Mrs. Bob Collins. We would spend our first “real” night together in Milwaukee Wisconsin. This is where for the next 3 days, we would experience a life of togetherness.
We went to the zoo, ate out, played pool and toured the downtown area. It was nice. Even if it was the first time we had ever been alone for that long before. I was in love.
When we arrived back home. Bob had to move all of his things over to my parents house. This is where we would be living until he left for the Marine Corp, and until my parents moved to Florida.
During the time that we found out I was pregnant, he had decided that the best thing for him to do, was join the military. This had been one of his dreams since he was young. He had always talked about that to me. But his parents wanted him to go to college and play football. “Oops, I shattered those dreams!” He never expressed his desire to join the military to his parents. Feeling afraid and scared to talk to them about his life, and his goals, his dreams. They didn't have that type of relationship with his parents. (red flag) And I think he felt that they would've talked him out of it.
So when he decided to join, he talked to my dad about it first. This was the right thing to do. We would have insurance, and a steady income. That's what was most important for all of us. So Bob enlisted in the Marine Corp. Only problem, he had to have the signature of one of his parents since at the time, he was still a minor. So, without hesitation, his father signed the papers. It was official, Bob was in the custody of the United States Marine Corp.

By July my dad and sister had already moved to Florida. My dad, starting his business and my sister, well, she was along for the ride. It was a good break for all of us. Bob was scheduled to leave in August and my parents were moving in September. Bob worked at the local park district and I worked at Speis, a department store I the mall. Things were going well. We were saving money and enjoying our time together. However, I wasn't really looking forward to Bob leaving for 3 months, nor was I looking forward to my family leaving me either. I was a mix of emotions. It was the pregnancy. We had already found out that I was having a boy, so I scored “boy” points with his parents. Like it would've made a difference. Well, ya, with them, it probably would have. She was excited to hear that her first grandchild was going to be a son. I had a baby shower planned from my family, and one planned from his family. This was great, all these distractions. So much to look forward too, would make time fly by.

Turns out, after Bob left for boot camp. I ended up going to Florida with my parents for a month anyway. With the permission of my Dr. I had to be back in October since I was in the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. Going to Florida was a good distraction for me. I didn't worry about Bob so much. But I did make sure I sent him a letter everyday with updates about the pregnancy and about Florida. I was a good pen pal. I would receive letters from him too from time to time. Which I was thankful for.
In October I went back to Illinois, where for the next month I would live with my aunt and uncle.
This was an agreement that she and my dad had worked out before I returned.

I enjoyed staying with them. She had a little boy who was a year old. So I was getting a taste of baby life, and married and...a taste of being homesick. I missed my family. But I kept myself busy. So much had happened in such a short period of time, I didn't know how to feel. I didn't visit his family much, I just didn't feel welcomed, and they didn't make any effort to make me feel welcomed either. So I just stayed with my aunt, and talked to her. I learned so much during that month. It was a wonderful experience.

With the anticipation of Bob's arrival home from boot camp, I decided to stay that evening with his parents. I would've drove to the airport myself to pick him up, but they insisted on renting a limo to bring him home. Which I found to be odd. I would've wanted to be at the airport to great him as he
came off the plane. But that wasn't them. (red flag)
As I sat with his parents in the living room, staring at the walls, bored to death and no common
interests to start a conversation....thank God, ”saved by the bell, “ the car pulls up the hill and into the driveway. Bob was finally home after 3 months away. We all ran out to the driveway to great him. At that moment, his parents and I found a common interest. Bob. He looked so thin. His face, was sunk in and he was all muscle. He was also not the same person that left 3 months ago. He was withdrawn, distant and quiet. He never was one to show emotion, but he had really lost what he did have.
The night was filled with stories and experiences from boot camp. What he liked and disliked. The honors he received for expert shooter, bla bla bla. This, I wasn't interested in at all. I was happy to hear about his journey through boot camp, but I had heard most of this in his letters.
Now, I was hoping that during the time he was on leave, that I might go into labor. I had mentioned this to my Dr. and asked if he could induce me while Bob was home so he would be there for the birth of our first son. But he didn't seem to think that was a good idea.
Well, I didn't need to be induced after all. The morning after Bob arrived home, I started feeling something wasn't right. I mentioned this to his mom, and told her what I was feeling. I called my Dr. and he told me to come right in. Bob's mom was home that day, so she drove me. Were we boding?
We arrived at the Dr.'s office, and to my surprise, I was had dilated to 3cm. The Dr. admitted me to the hospital. He said everything looked good with baby, so he let this progress. I was excited because Bob was going to be with me. He was going to see his first son born,
Bob's mom drove me over to the hospital, and stayed with me until late that night. Bob, on the other hand was running around with his dad and brother playing in the woods. When he arrived at the hospital, around 7, his mom still stayed with us. There we were, the 3 of us. Waiting. We decided that since we hadn't picked out a name yet, we thought now was a good time. It didn't take long and finally, we decided on “Cody James Collins.” It was a perfect name.
Bob's mom k kept herself busy sitting in a rocking chair knitting a blanket. Something she had been working on since she had heard the news. She looked so nice and peaceful in that chair. She looked like a real grandma. Although she didn't express her excitement, her presence gave her excitement away. She stayed until about 10 that night and finally left to go home. She kissed Bob goodnight, and came over and kissed me too. Was this lady finally having a change of heart? Was I finally becoming a “real” daughter-in-law to her?
Bob stayed the entire night with me. I was having small contractions throughout the night, which by 7am I was already dilated to 7cm. So when the Dr. came in to examine me, he broke my water. After he did that, my contractions were coming more frequently. I was a real trooper. I breathed during each contraction, and kept my cool. I didn't overreact, I stayed calm. At around 930am I was feeling a lot pressure. I knew this was it...the nurses called the Dr. back in and it was all a blur from there. I remember pushing for just a few minutes, and in no time I heard the little cry of a baby. At 9:50am on November 12, 1992 I became a mom. He weighed 7lbs 6oz. He had all his fingers and toes. He was a healthy baby. He was beautiful. He was mine. I loved him instantly. No words can express the love you have for a child as you do for your own. Bob called his mom right away. Then he called my mom. Happiness all around. I stayed in the hospital for I think 2 days. Then we took our new baby to his parents house. I think that meant a lot to them, since it was the first home they took both of their sons to for the first time.

After we arrived at their home, his mom grabbed the car seat right away and took her grandchild and held him in her arms. She stared at him, kissed him and did all the things a grandma should do. She had finally come around. I was happy to see this. It made me happy, and I know it made Bob happy as well. As I followed her into the family room, I looked over at his father, and asked him if he wanted to see or hold his grandson. His fathers reaction was one that I will never forget. He said, “No I don't! As a matter of fact, he's not a Collins, he's a Metcalf and I don't want anything to do with him!” Now that hurt my feelings. I was already an emotional wreck, and he just made it worse. Bob and his mom just laughed. I was horrified! How could you guys laugh? When I finally was able to confront Bob about his dad's rude comment, he said to me “just ignore him, this is a lot for him to deal with!” “A lot to deal with my ass, he just disrespected you, me and your son, and all you can say this is a lot for him to deal with.” I wanted my parents at that very moment.
It wasn't long before Bob had to leave for another round of training in San Diego. I needed a plan. I couldn't stay in that house for another minute with that man. So, I had decided to leave and move to Florida. As soon as Bob left, I packed all that I had, all that Cody had and I left for my Aunts house for the night. The next afternoon I would be on a plane heading to Florida.

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