It was an ordinary day………….
I woke up in the morning, I woke up late. You all know the shock, the fear of oversleeping and the mad dash to try to make it to work on time. I threw off the bed sheets and scrambled to the bathroom, knocking several beer cans off the bedside table. I brushed my teeth as I tried to get dressed. Threw on some deodorant, put on a hat and out the door. I stumbled down the three flights of stairs from my one bedroom apartment in nowhere Wyoming.
5 minutes from alarm to start of truck……..no bad in my condition.
I rolled into work, 5 minutes late, but again, not bad for a guy in my condition.
I was 21 years old and single, I had been through a tough breakup with a girlfriend of a little over a year, 5 months ago. My heart was on the mend and things were looking up. I had found a girl I was interested in and we had gone on a couple dates. Nothing serious or intimate……yet, but they were fun times. And I had stayed out wayyyyyyyy to late last night.
Shortly after clocking in and getting out on the floor, I got the call. It was a call to the office. The worst call I could have gotten at the time. I walked into the front office, then into the owners office. His real name was Duane, but we called him “The Boss Man” or ” &^%*head” Depending on the day. He was a hootin and a holerin kinda boss man. He loved to criticize and yell, just because…….he was the “Boss Man”
He took one look at me, with my hat on crooked, bloodshot eyes, shirt half tucked in and asked “Boy, you all right to be on the clock?”
Of coarse I answered “Yes, Sir” Luckily it came out clear and not slurred. He looked at me with the Boss Man stink eye and said “Boy, We start here on time. And by on time I mean before it’s time to clock in. If your on time, your late. and if your late, you really late. What’s your excuse for being late?”
I started thinking, and quickly I ran through my 21 year old Rolodex of late to work excuses…….
Truck wouldn’t start
Alarm did not go off
Power went out
I got pulled over
I wasn’t feeling good
I decided that honesty was best, because “The Boss Man” could smell a lie. He could probably smell me as well.
“Sorry, sir. I was stayed up too late, and there was this girl…………” I answered.
He looked at me for about a minute, torturing me, deciding my fate.
“You are good at what you do. I need you so I will give you the choice to be on time, every day, from this day foreword. Or you will lose your job. You decide if the girl is worth your future here.” was his response.
I responded with a simple “Yes sir” and walked back out onto the floor with my head down. I felt bad for being late, I always have prided myself on my work ethic and being on time. I spent the rest of the day trying to prove myself at work. All the while thinking if this was how I wanted to spend the rest of my days.
After work I walked into my tiny one bedroom apartment. I was tired and absolutely unprepared for what happened next. There was a message waiting for me on my answering machine (Yes, I had a landline and answering machine. Don’t you judge me!) It was my ex and she told me……….
“I don’t know how to tell you this……..I’m pregnant…..I’m six months pregnant and I though you should know. We should talk when you get a chance. Call me.”
My entire world came to a sudden stop.
“Did she just say, what I think she said?” I had to listen to the message again, and again. So many thoughts rushed into my head.
How can I be a dad? How can I take care of a baby? I can barely take care of myself? How can I afford a baby? What am I going to do? Would I even be a good dad? How can this be? I mean, we broke up………Do I even call her back? It was the last question I thought about the most. I was scared, “Do I even call her back?”
After thinking about it for some time the choice was very simple, and terrifying. This is my child, I owe this child a life. I owe this child everything I can give. I owe this child a debt. I owe this child a father. And I will be a father to this child.
I called her back………
My little girl was born 3 months later. It was the most amazing experience of my life. I got to hold my baby, my 7 pound 6 ounce baby girl. This little girl changed my life. She gave me the reason to be to work on time everyday. She gave me a reason to focus on my future. She also gave me a lot of reasons to not get much sleep at night.
I am a father. I am her father, and I owe her that. No matter the effort, no matter the cost. I will not run from my responsibility and I will be the father she deserves……………
Because I love her more than myself.
I will spend the rest of my life paying the debt I owe my child.