• Bre'a Belle

I Still See Your Face

I took another huge step forward with the help of my medication and I'm truly proud. I'm even more proud of Draven who continued to prove that he's so much smarter than you could ever imagine. For the very first time, Draven talked to Austin and he now knows that Austin is his father. As much as I dreaded seeing this day, I handled it well and most importantly, so did Draven. Having control over the situation made it a lot easier too. I always wanted to avoid them meeting each other the way that I met my dad. Thomas made a good point by saying that a missed video chat hurts a lot less than a missed baseball game or holiday and I've never thought so deeply about a single statement in all my life. So, video chatting was a way to break the ice and it was a complete success. I've finally come to terms that I can't shelter my boys to keep them from dealing with certain situations because everybody has their own unique experiences with everything in life. I thought about it a long time ago and I was afraid that I wasn't going to know what to tell him. I decided on telling him that sometimes you have daddies that help take care of you and sometimes you have daddies that help make you and he and Devin had different daddies that helped make them. I knew in my heart that he understood and he hasn't stopped talking about him since.

There was a time when you'd look down the hallways of Mount View High School and you'd see me weaving through the halls and the crowd of people and there Austin was, towering over me. At every class change, there we were, tangled in each other's arms. At every football and basketball game, you'd see me in my tiny gold uniform and huge gold bow bee-bopping around with my curls bouncing all over the place and you'd see him, hovering over me protectively like he was my shadow and was prepared to fight anyone that even dared to look in my direction. We were young and free and bold (something that Draven is stuck with because of us), even bold enough to parade around the school with black and blue bruises on our necks from our very first date that let the imaginations of the staff and students run wild.

At 16 years old, for the very first time ever, I was with someone that everyone knew belonged to me and I belonged to him. Even when we would break up they knew that we would be right back together, no matter how much shit we talked about one another to our friends and families. The two of us stuck together like magnets and it was just one of the Mount View norms. I had never felt so tightly bound to someone before and eventually it felt like we were a married couple.

We were both so broken from things beyond our control and I could never deny the fact that it felt like we were from two completely different worlds. Somewhere around that time, I developed the urge to try to fix him and make him the man that I wanted him to be. It was great for a while. He stayed in school, kept his grades up, and played football. I spent a lot of time feeling like his mother simply because he was so broken, but I didn't and couldn't let him go because I was just as broken as he was. He was the first person I opened up to and made plans with to move on to a better life and never look back.

Who would have thought that a single moment that was a tearful reconciliation after a rocky and emotional summer of being broken up would change our lives forever. The morning of September 10th, 2013, I woke up at around 3 am with a full bladder and cramps in my uterus that I thought was my period about to start later that day. Before going back to sleep, I realized how off things felt. Later that day, I found out that we did what we were always told not to do: we created a life.

It made me incredibly vulnerable. While everyone else attempted to fill my head with shame and negativity, we were both happy from the very beginning and that was all I really cared about. We were even more like a married couple when I got pregnant. He went to every appointment, nervously holding my hand. He cried with me during every ultrasound. He'd stay at my house, holding my hair when I got sick, stuffed me full of food, and stood by my side when I would panic about the baby.

We were in bed, pondering baby names when I introduced him to the Crow. One of the characters shared the same name as his favorite aunt that was killed in a car accident. So, that was how we decided on the name Draven for our baby boy. Still to this day, I still feel like I made the right decision by going with that name for that specific reason.

It's true when they say that girls mature faster than boys. Things didn't really get bad until things started coming together for Draven's arrival. Parenthood is a perfect example of natural selection. We were arguing and breaking up almost every other day. When things were good, he was working and he'd come home and we'd stuff our faces full of Long John's. I just think he was afraid because of how quickly and how differently things were changing and he wasn't used to being so tied down or wanting to be that way. Even though I graduated and never have regretted having Draven for a single second, I still felt like I gave up my senior year to build a solid family life with Austin.

It didn't bother me until the very end when my emotions were at their highest and it seemed like he was trying to avoid me and keep his distance. On his birthday, he left school early leaving me under the impression that he was coming to my doctor's appointment. He didn't. I laid on a hard and uncomfortable table on a monitor after a pelvic exam (the most painful I've ever had in my life). I was all alone because my mom had to work, Mia and Shakur were in school, and I couldn't find Austin. All I remember is laying there, staring blankly at the ceiling with tears streaming down my face feeling empty and forgotten about. It was the very first time that I was ever afraid of becoming a mother and life was treating me unfairly. It felt like nothing was going right and I was terrified of bringing my baby into a shitty situation. When I got home that day, I still didn't know where he was and that was when I broke.

I worried myself to the point of having contractions and that night, my mom held me as I curled up on the futon and broke into a million pieces. All I wanted was to have him hold my hand to take my mind off of the pain. In the beginning, I thought that we were going to stick together to endure everything that came with bringing a child into the world no matter how good or how bad, but I was the only one left suffering and trying to stay strong. Things were still rocky when I went in to be induced, but I was happy to have him there with me from the time they admitted me from 11 that morning to when Draven was finally born. If I can't say anything else, I can safely say that he was there through the whole labor process even when I tried to bite his finger off. I was scared as shit the whole time, but his poker face never faltered.

It's taken 5 long years and a good SSRI to let go of the hate in my heart and accept the fact that he is half of Draven. My reasoning for putting their relationship on the back burner is and always has been irrelevant and I've been selfish. Draven's relationship with Austin shouldn't have to be tarnished because I'm afraid of history repeating itself. You never know what might happen and I saw the two of them fall in love with each other. I saw one more person look at my baby the same way I've looked at him from the moment I laid eyes on him and it completely melted my heart. Draven is excited and understanding things better than I thought he would (obviously I made the mistake of underestimating my own child when I should have known better).

I feel good about things because I can think with a clear head space with little to no worry in my heart. I want to give Austin the benefit of the doubt and give him the chance to be a good father to Draven. If you look at it from a psychological point of view, Draven is at the age where quantity is more important than quality and he's not developmentally capable of passing judgement on someone in regards too whether or not he wants them in his life. He'll spend the next few months to years simply excited by the fact that he has two daddies instead of just one. This will be a good thing. We were young and trying to take on the world and our son doesn't have to suffer from the pain we caused each other all those years ago. But BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I have finally let myself see the traits of Austin in Draven, from his expressions to his attitude, and I can already tell that telling him to get the hell out of my face looking like his daddy is going to be the highlight of parenthood for me. I carried that little asshole for nine months with a torn up tailbone still to this day, a belly with stretchmarks that make me look like a zebra, and eight hours of labor just for him to come out looking and acting like his daddy.