I had Kristen and I didn’t care how bad things were in the world outside of us. We started to build this awe inspiring love. The stuff they make songs about. We were like the Kennedy’s. The power couple at work and the couple our friends wanted to be. We really required so little work to love each other so deeply, it was mind blowing. She was the reason for that. She was so amazing.

I still was in the mess of a separation turned divorce with my ex-wife. My ex was playing games, calling my work, harassing both Kristen and I. She seemed to hate me finding happiness. When it came to this behavior from my ex, Kristen was cool, collected and hated every minute of my ex-wifes nonsensical intrusions, but she kept me grounded. My ex was just a cancer in our lives that we couldn’t just cure right away. That cancer had a knack for using the kids and my role as a father as weapons.

Kristen made sure I was calm, though. Especially when it came to seeing my kids, but she was always so nervous about me picking them up. My ex had a history of making the trade off so nasty, I had to relegate it to public places like parking lots at grocery stores just to ensure witnesses were there if the police needed to show up. It was bad. Kristen and I would plan for picking them up all week and my ex would change up and change the exchange location or cancel all together. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to get me through that time. Kristen was my rock.

She was also a champ when it came to making my kids feel warm and welcome. She planned things for them on the weekends they were with us. She was so willing to be maternal, but not motherly. A strong woman role model, but not one to overstep where she felt her bounds to be. She let me be dad and she assumed the roles of anyone we needed. Mostly, the rockstar. And she was damn good at it. She was a woman I really wanted to have in my world forever and I deeply respected her for her commitment to the products of my past. She loved those kids, but she always made comments that she had no idea what she was doing. She didn’t see what I saw. Kristen was amazing.

It was a few months later and we found out that Kristen was pregnant. A friend’s fun bridal shower for her and a BBQ with other friends for me turned into a passionate night that ended in conception. We even broke the bed that night. (Totally not how you may think… her fierce independence and a few drinks caused me to be an obstacle in bed that she had to step over. Out went the bedrail.) The timing could have been a bit better to be pregnant, though. Me still embroiled in a divorce, her so uncertain of herself as a mother. But the circumstances were perfect between us to find out we were going to start a family and this woman was going to be an amazing mom. And really, is there a good time to be pregnant?

Since we worked in a family medicine practice, what a better way to find out? She told me “I’m late.” I had the honor to be the one to read her first clinical test. I read it was positive and informed her. It was so surreal to be at work finding this out! I walk her across the clinic for the blood work to confirm. She was such a nervous wreck. We weren’t married and her parents didn’t exactly dig the idea that things were happening so fast, but that didn’t change anything. Their first grandchild was on the way and they seemed happy after they got used to the idea. Proud like all grandparents are.

Our friends were all there with us at every step. I like to think that helped her. From the first obstetrics appointments to the delivery room, our friends in the medical community made bringing our daughter into this world such an amazing event. It couldn’t have been any warmer to have such wonderful people there supporting such an important event. And she beamed like a new mother should. My god, she was beautiful. Kristen was banned from naming her, though. But for the sake of this story, to protect our daughter’s privacy and to emphasize why Kristen was banned, we’ll call her Megalodon (like the prehistoric shark that Kristen loved so much and wanted to name her. Lord, don’t ask me why…)

Rory Andes