*This is for you, Stacy ;)*
Andrew and I met just after I turned 17, while living in Ontario. We were at a party thrown by a mutual friend, and he asked me for a kiss. In turn, I gave him shit for being so cocky when, and I quote, "You don't even know my last name!". This is now a running joke.
He moved in with me to the top floor of my parents house some four months later. Anything to get out of the military barracks, right dear?
Then came the posting to Edmonton. He had to leave. I didn't want him to go, and he didn't want to leave me. He decided he was going to quit the military and find work as a mechanic nearby. I gave him shit again, and suggested that instead I just come to Edmonton with him. My mom gave us both shit. We went anyway.
I got pregnant with Lillian shortly thereafter. Fourteen and a half months after she was born, I had Rachel. **Side note: Finn is 17 months old. I can't IMAGINE having him and a newborn!!!
When Rachel was four months old, we finally got married. Our wedding day was three days before my 20th birthday. Andrew likes to tell people that on his honeymoon, he slept with a 19 year old AND a 20 year old. I give him shit for that. He's mouthy that way. ;)
At some point he went on tour with the military to Afghanistan. :(
After we'd been married a few years, things kind of hit the skids. A lot of small issues led to a lot of big issues, which led to us separating and me moving with the girls to B.C. to be near my family. We lived in "Transitional Housing" for a while, which is kind of like a women's shelter but nicer. Picture living with your wealthy aunt, and a half-dozen female cousins with their children. We had a great house, chores, and locks on our bedroom doors. We lived there for about two months, and then got a place nearby in subsidized housing. That's the three-bedroom apartment we're in now. My rent is based off my income. Technically, with no income, I don't qualify to be here - so my landlord fudged the documents and said that I'm receiving Unemployment when I'm not. I already gave him verbal notice that I'm moving, so it's not going to be forever.
Andrew decided fairly quickly that whatever problems we had we could work through and be a family again. I don't know what I was thinking. I'd gone from my parents house right into my boyfriends house, and now I was on my own for the first time ever. I decorated the way I wanted to decorate, I watched what I wanted to watch on TV, I made all my own financial decisions, I got a job, went to school, and took care of the kids. I dated.
I dated a guy from work who is fourteen years my senior. I'd like to say I regret it, but I can't totally regret it, because he gave me Finnigan. In the end, all the things that had attracted me o him turned out to be... Not real. I'd been seeing something that wasn't really there. I couldn't stand his kids, and he struggled to get along with mine. He turned out to be a loser who is now renting a room in his brother's house, because even though he's had the same damn job for the last 12 years, he can't seem to manage to get his own apartment. He had no backbone, and eventually lost his lustre. I left him, and kept the pregnancy.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that what I really wanted was what had been there all along. When I'd found out I was pregnant, I couldn't imagine going through it with anyone but Andrew. He'd always, ALWAYS been there for me, and I feared that by the time I finally came around he'd have washed his hands of me for good. We went back and forth through most of the pregnancy, with Kevin (Finn's sperm donor) popping in and out of my life. It all came to a head around the time Finn was born, when Andrew told me he had a girlfriend, and he wanted her to meet MY kids. (Yes, I was irrational, OK?). I came unglued. Told him no way, no how, if he brought that slut (see? irrational) here we'd be gone and I'll see you in court thankyouverymuch.
Then it hit me. Uhhh, maybe I'm doing all this because *I* still love Andrew! It was like I always thought he'd be there, waiting in the wings, and that's what gave me the strength to move on and make my way in the world. I never thought he wouldn't be there, and I counted on him more than I realized. He was my rock, and I took him for granted. I gave me shit for that. Then I called him. I confessed everything. I begged forgiveness. I cried, and pleaded, and told him I loved him and that I was stupid. Queen Supreme Stupid in the land of Stupid People. He told me it might be too late. I died inside. He said he couldn't risk his heart again if I wasn't in it for life this time. I thought long and hard about that. I decided I was in it for life and set about convincing him.
Andrew's parents planned a trip to Disney world the August after Finn was born. Andrew was still living in Edmonton at the time, and his parents live overseas. They flew through here, picked up the girls, and left. The next day, Andrew flew me out with the baby. If we're going to try to be a family, we have to actually spend time together. So we did.
We've been putting our lives back together ever since. Andrew took a posting out to this province, the nearby base fell through so he got stuck on the island. We spend whatever time we can together, we've vowed to make it work. We are making it work. Step by step, we're putting the pieces back together. Undo the paperwork (we never filed an official separation, but we're separated as far as the military is concerned) get a house on base (we won't all fit in his bachelor pad!) and move allll our shit. I hate packing. I hate moving. But I love Andrew.
The girls are ecstatic, and Finn has never known any other daddy. Andrew loves that little boy to bits, and totally, completely, 100% accepts him as his own. Weirdly enough, Finn is the only child who has blue eyes like Andrew. We both giggle whenever a stranger says how much he looks like his daddy. (Kevin has dark brown eyes, mine are green.) We're going to renew our vows eventually.
So that's pretty much that. We've committed to making this work, we've been "back together" for more than a year now successfully after about two years apart. We talked a LOT, and we're learning and growing together as a couple and as a family. Truly, our relationship has never been better. I love this man, and I love our family, and sometimes taking a break can be the best thing for a relationship. Now we know what we have, and we'll fight tooth and nail to keep it.