You know what’s not great? Living with teenagers. I, however, was newly moved in, thought I had it all figured out, thought I could handle everything they were going to throw at me. I wasn’t going to discipline them, no, I was going to be their friend. I was going to be the awesome step-parent that took them out for coffee, to the movies, shopping, whatever they wanted because I thought I was that cool.
I thought that was what they needed or wanted or whatever. I didn’t know anything about parenting. Jesus, I was pretty much a kid myself. I was fresh out of college and still working on figuring out how to stop drinking to get drunk and just drink to enjoy.
I was no cohabiting with someone I thought I liked, said I was in love but that was a fabrication so I’m going with just kind of liked. We had nothing in common. There was an eight year age difference. I moved away from my best friend to live with someone I barely knew because I thought I had my shit together. I had no shit together. I had a part-time job, used to live in a decrepit house where the rent was cheap and the dealers broke in to several times and moved in to a town house in a nice part of town with four kids and a person who had less shit together than I did. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea how I was going to break apart at the seams and cry myself to sleep nearly every night. I had no idea how drinking would be that one thing I’d look forward to every day and if I was awake, it was time to drink. I had no idea what mental illness really was and how it would completely take over my life.
And it didn’t take long. Oh God, no. I saw it from a mile away. There were red flags screaming GET THE FUCK OUT!!! But, did I listen? No. No, I didn’t because I was twenty five fucking years old and I knew everything there was to know about life. The yelling between us and the kids? Easily fixed. Distrust? Stealing? Yeah, we can handle that. Drugs? Oh, no problem. We can handle all of it. Oh, you’re proposing? Hey, I want to say no but I’ll go with yes and pretend I’m happy about it just because I’m a fucking idiot.
Two months into the relationship and we’re engaged. The oldest boy hates it. He’s probably fifteen or something. It’s a little difficult to remember now. In hindsight, he was right. We should have discussed it with him. I should have asked him what his thoughts were. Not that it would have mattered much if we really wanted to get married. We were going to do it anyway, but I should have known how he really felt about it. He was right. He was fucking right and we were about to get a major shock to the system. Soon, I was going to realize it was too late and it was going to take longer to get everything sorted out than it did to get into that mess.