God Bless the Child

My friend S just called me. He’s an old friend…. we met at a Christian summer camp, right after our freshman year of high school. I loved him deeply and sincerely; sometimes romantically but usually just with the love of knowing a kindred spirit. We wrote each other a letter a week (or more if life was particularly angsty) for the remaining three years of high school; when I went to college, he came to visit me and loved the place, and chose to attend the same school.

We’ve drifted in and out of closeness since then. During college, he was in with the theatre crowd and the English lit majors; I was busy with my sorority and the ECE set and of course, my future husband. But when we did get a chance to sit down and have a coffee and reconnect, we picked up like we’d never been apart.

The Husband isn’t a big fan of S…. it might be that for years I called him “MyS” as though the possessive pronoun was actually the prefix of his name. It might be that this is just another man who’s known me longer than The Husband has, or that we’d been through so much together, or that we occasionally ended up slightly romantically entangled (we had a song, and for some reason that bugs the CRAP out of TH).

Anyway.

I mailed out my Christmas cards earlier in the week with a little update on us for the far-flung friends, and of course there was news about The Kid. So when S called he was full of congratulations and concern about the PTL issues and apologies for not knowing this sooner. Then, he said, he had some news of his own for me. Last I’d heard, he was dating a girl named Katherine for about 2 years… so I would have guessed it was news of an engagement.

No.

S is going to be a father. With a woman who’s an undergrad at his university (he’s in grad school and a TA), whom he has been dating for 3 months. She’s 10 weeks pregnant. I’ll wait a minute while you do the math…. Okay, got it? This was FAAAAAAST.

They’re going to get married after the baby is born, so she won’t be fat in her wedding dress. Her mom-and-stepdad are cool with it, because, you know, that’s how she came into being, so they aren’t judgemental. His mom and dad have been told he’s getting married… dropped that bombshell at Thanksgiving. He plans to spring the stork’s news on them at Christmas dinner. Cute, huh?

I don’t know. He sounds happy, he seems to be in love with the girl. But in our conversation he mentioned that he still has “things to work out about the breakup with K-” since that’s only been 5 months. Everyone on this timeline? 5 months ago he breaks up with a long time girlfriend. 2 months later he starts dating L. About two weeks after that she gets knocked up, and they basically just realized what was going on a few weeks ago.

So yes, I’m concerned about him. I want him to be happy, and he has always wanted a family. I’m just not sure this is the greatest start, and there are a lot of practical things to consider.

For one thing, she’s working part time and is in college. She plans to finish next semester and then take one year off. After that, she has two years to go to complete her degree. He’s in a master’s program, but has decided that Creative Writing is not for him. He wants to jump into a master’s program in social work, but since he has nothing that would count as credit, he’ll be starting over from scratch and will have two full years ahead of him.

I have so many friends who are in stable marriages, holding down steady jobs, and wanting nothing more than to bring a baby into this world. It just really sucks to see them hurting month after month, when on the other hand friends like S just fall into a relationship and a pregnancy without a thought for the future of themselves or the child that will be affected.

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