Tonight I put my butt in a chair and wrote. I had no idea that the story was going to go where it went when I sat down. I actually had no idea what I was going to write about tonight. I looked at my outline, and just took a stab at Chapter two “the pregnancy,” but I wrote very little about the pregnancy except the part about Charity calling us up and telling us she was pregnant.
I had a conversation with a friend this week about the difficulties that come with being the parent of adult children. It’s not something I’ve really thought about much before, but the conversation is still echoing in my ears. I just thought that being the parent of a grown up kid is just part of being a parent. And parenting our disabled little girl is much more challenging than it was to parent our now adult children when they were Allie’s age. Susan and I are always thinking about how easy they were compared to what it takes to parent Allie. But my friend’s perspective is so accurate. Parenting our grown up kids is much more worrying and challenging than parenting the same people as children.
So between parenting Allie and my two adult children, parenthood has become much more challenging.
Here’s a taste of what’s in the draft I wrote tonight:
After Timmy moved to San Francisco, Charity wanted to just show up at his parents' house with Allie and say, "here's your granddaughter! Surprise?" His parents didn’t know there was a pregnancy.
I told Charity that I thought it was a bad idea. For some reason Timmy didn't feel that his family was a safe place to talk about Allie. He had moved out of town after Charity was pregnant. He was back in town after Allie was born, but he didn’t tell his parents then, either. I made the assumption and made a case to Charity that Timmy didn't feel safe communicating about his choices or their consequences.
Contrast that with how Charity told us about her pregnancy. Only a few hours had passed from the time she knew for sure until the time she told us. She did not put it off until after she was showing. She took a pregnancy test – actually, she took four of them, and, when they came up positive – she told us.
I proud of her for that. I was not happy with the news that she was pregnant out of wedlock. But as time went on, I really warmed up to the idea of being a grandpa although I was way to young, in my opinion. I was only 40 for about two weeks when she made the big announcement.
On Halloween, approximately one year after she announced her pregnancy, Charity dressed Allie in a teddy bear suit and drove to Timmy's parent's apartment. John, Allie's paternal grandfather opened the door. The way John tells the story, he took one look at Allie and knew right away that this was his son's little baby. Allie looked like Timmy did when he was a baby.
John piled Allie and Charity into the car and drove them to see Ruth, Timmy's mother. John and Ruth were very excited to have a granddaughter and immediately became involved in Allie's life.
Timmy and Charity were talking regularly at the although Charity never told Timmy her plan to tell his parent's about Allie. While John and Allie and Charity were in the car together. Charity's phone rang. The phone's screen indicated that caller.
"It's Timmy," Charity told John.
"May I answer it?" John asked Charity
Charity gave him the phone.
"Hello, Timmy. I’m here with Charity and Allie."