Other People and Their Decisions

It was eerily the same, but so, so very different.

I couldn’t help be confounded by the similarities in our situations.  Dawn and Todd were in love, happy, and away at school.  One day she, just like me, went to the drugstore and discovered her life was going to change.  But that’s about where the similarities ended.

Maybe it was because they had both watched me go through it, and they realized it wasn’t the end of the world.  After all, here we were, and my son was the best thing in my life.  He was a sweet, smiling, well behaved baby who made every single person who met him smile.  He played quietly under his baby gym while I studied, napped while I did his laundry, and without incident spent happy hours at daycare while I attended classes at college.  From the outside looking in, I’ll admit, we made a happy picture.  I loved my son, and it was obvious to anyone who spent time with us.  We were like a happy ending without knowing the prelude.

So when Dawn and Todd found themselves in a similar situation, it probably didn’t seem like that big a deal.  They’d stay together and have the baby; Todd knew from spending endless hours with me and Zachary that it would be something he’d enjoy.   They presented a united front to both sets of parents about their situation (they having already been living together in an off campus apartment) and everyone was supportive.

So supportive, in fact, that Todd’s parents agreed to pay for their rent at married housing, if Dawn and Todd qualified.

Dawn asked me to be her maid of honor, and I agreed.  Quickly, we put together plans for a wedding shower (me being an old pro after working on my sister’s a few months prior) and wedding to follow the next weekend.  Since I still had a perfectly serviceable dress, all we had to do is find Dawn her gown and set up the details.

In the same amount of time it took for me and Joe to break up, Dawn and Todd decided to get married, planned a wedding and slipped rings on each other’s fingers.  I was happy for them; they seemed to be really in love, and we all acknowledged every “shotgun wedding” joke that could be made, all in good fun.  True, we were all still too young to legally drink a toast to the wedding, but here we were, making grown up decisions just the same.

At the reception, as I bounced Zachary on my hip, one of the guests that I didn’t know asked about my sweet, well tempered baby and complimented me on him.  I thanked the stranger, not unused to such a compliment.  And then, a comment that threw me:

“He must look just like your husband.”

My cheeks grew bright red.  To tell or not to tell?  Of course no one had a baby all by themselves; such a thing was unheard of.  Should I correct the person or swallow my eighteen months of regret flashing before my eyes right now?  What to do, what to say?

“Thank you,” I answered weakly.  “He does,” I answered as I turned to walk away.


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