What was there to do now that Zachary didn't need mommy every
waking moment of the day? Jenny realized she needed to focus on
herself a little more, so she began dating. It's hard for single
parents to date anyway, not even considering the fact that
Jenny's son was very special. How would she be able to find a man
who she thought fitting to be involved in her child's life? By
some miracle, it seemed, Jeff entered her life.
He stood 6' 4", weighed about 200 pounds, and had the most amazing baby blue eyes in the world. He just so happened to be the brother of Missy's ex-husband, Ronnie. Ronnie introduced Jenny to him and they fell for each other after only a couple days. Of course, Jenny, now terrified of falling in love, refused to let her emotions show. For weeks after they had both acknowledged they were in love, they would say "I like you" to each other. If one of them happened to slip up and say love instead of like, that person would simply say "Galactic reset!" and the statement was, as they said, wiped from the record. This was a cute game between the two until one day Jenny said "I love you, no more resets…"
After just a couple months, Jeff became the most amazing step-dad Jenny had ever seen. She loved to peek in on her boys when they would sit down and play together. They both had the biggest smiles she had ever seen and it was obvious how much they loved each other. Jeff taught his step-son to say no out loud, but then quickly learned that word would end up getting on both his and Jenny's nerves!
For New Year's Eve, Deanna stayed home with Zachary and Gracie so that Jenny and Jeff could go out together. They met up at a bar with his brother, Ronnie, and Jenny's friends from middle school. Their first holiday as a couple was great and Jenny loved introducing her new man to her friends. They all seemed so proud that she finally had a boyfriend that seemed to be more decent than the ones from her past.
Deanna and Jenny had kept in touch even after they had their
falling out. Jenny called to tell her estranged friend happy
birthday and Deanna called to see how Jenny and Zachary were
doing. After their fight, Deanna and her kids moved in with her
dad and step mom, over 6 hours away from Jenny. In December, it
was time to see each other again, and Deanna came to visit Jenny
after almost a year. As Jenny embraced her, neither girl wanted
to let go; "It's been too long" they agreed.
Jenny feared what had always happened in the past when it came to Deanna and Jenny's boyfriends. She was sure they would hate each other and never get a long, but amazingly, Jeff and Deanna become almost like brother and sister! She was thrilled that her best friend and love of her life got along so well, and that was almost like a sign to her, that Jeff might just be "The One".
Her best friend's visit was only supposed to last a week or so,
but after talking, the girls came up with a plan. Deanna could
live with Jenny and get a job, once she had the money saved, she
and her kids could move into an apartment in the same building as
Jenny and her family. Jenny agreed to give her friend rides to go
job hunting and to and from work once she got a job. They split
gas money and food costs, and once again, Deanna and Jenny lived
As if it weren't hard enough being a young mother to a three year old boy, Jenny also had to deal with all of the "Work" that came with being his mother. This meant she was always busy signing papers, making copies, on the phone, or mailing documents. The most admirable thing about this was that while she took on these jobs, she only thought about other parents and how she could help them. "I wonder if there could be a program to give free mailing stamps to parents of special kids because of all the letters we have to mail?" she thought to herself as she signed her name on another medical release document and stuck it in the envelope.
Zachary and Gracie were already like the best of friends. He was learning so much from his "younger sister" and Jenny was thrilled to see his progress. They loved taking baths together and Gracie would keep yelling "Bubby!" if he wasn't already in the bath tub with her. They splashed and laughed for an hour and still neither of them wanted to get out, so Jenny had to drag them out screaming before they wrinkled up to nothing! They wouldn't eat their meals alone either. When Gracie would sit at the kitchen table, Zachary would be scooting up right behind her and reach to her so she could help him stand up and wait for Momma to put him in his booster seat to eat with his "Sissy".
Love was in the air, cards being sent everywhere, phone calls,
and text messages filled everyone's phones; It was Valentine's
Day. Jeff and Jenny were broke. All of they're money went on
bills and clothes for both kids, so there wasn't any spending
money left for gifts. Jenny used the leftover valentine's cards
for Zach's class and taped heart shaped suckers to them before
stuffing them in her own mailbox with a smile. When Jeff and
Deanna checked the mail, their faces lit up seeing Jenny's gifts
to them inside. Later in the day, she set up the kitchen table
with construction paper, markers, glue and glitter. Jeff sat at
the table with Zachary to do Valentine's day crafts, but told
Jenny to get out and not to come back into the room!
Jeff came into the living room and handed his girlfriend the home-made card. It was pink and read "My Heart is Falling for You" on the front. When she opened it, a red and orange paper heart fell hanging from a string on the inside. She giggled at it's amazing cuteness as she turned it over and read what he wrote to her on the back: "I love you more than life itself. I love you more than the 1967 Shelby GT500. More than the Aston Martin DB7. My engine runs on your love for me. Love Always, Jeff." It was the sweetest and most romantic gift she had ever gotten in her life. Jenny baked a cake for the holiday; Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with mini M&M's and pink strawberry icing. She used food coloring and made extra icing in pink and blue then decorated the cake with hearts and nicknames of her family members; Wolf, Bubby, Sissy, & Baby D.
The ice storm that hit that week left inches of ice everywhere you looked and even knocked out many power lines nearby. Jeff, being from Florida, wasn't as used to it as Jenny was, so they bundled up and headed outside. He held his girlfriend's hand as they skated on the ice in their shoes in front of their apartment building. Their neighbor, Krystal poked her head out of her window and laughed at her friends being so silly before she threw down a cardboard box for Jenny to sled on the ice with. Passers-by couldn't help but smile when they saw the couple. Laughing and smiling, they twirled around on the ice, trying not to fall. Gracie, Deanna, and Zachary laughed as they watched the love birds from the living room window above.
Jenny and her ex-mother-in-law had been getting along like they
did before the divorce and although she and Mark weren't
fighting, they weren't always on good terms either. She sent
Sharon pictures of Zachary on her phone everyday just to keep her
involved in his life. Zachary was still spending every other
weekend at his dad's house with his baby brother, Devin.
It's rare to come across a divorce that was a clean and easy break with no hard feelings. Jenny and Mark's was no different. From the moment he knew she wasn't going to come back to him, the words of hate, rumors, and fights began, and still hadn't ended. The only rumors that came close to causing any effect on Jenny were ones concerning her role as a mother. By this time, Jenny had done enough soul searching to find that in her opinion, she was a wonderful mother. Of course, what she thought and what people would say are two totally different things. She could be walking in the store and overhear people she had never met talking about how she was an unfit mother and it infuriated her! She had done so much to be the best person she could be overall and being a decent ex-wife was included in that.
When they split up, Jenny gave him most of her end tables, wall paintings, and any of Zachary's things that he no longer needed. She gave him joint custody and hefty visitation as well as the right to pick up Zachary to hang out anytime he wanted to. She even invited him to come with her on Zach's first day of school and let him claim their son on his income taxes even though he only cared for him one third of each year. Once Mark's girlfriend Tawny got pregnant with Devin, Jenny went through all of Zachary's old things and brought them boxes and boxes of baby clothes and toys. Somehow, even with all that she had done, he still had bad things to say about her. She knew about the things he said, especially when he said to several people, "I'm just gathering as much dirt as I can on her and waiting for her to screw up so I can take full custody of Zach; She's an unfit mother." She didn't care what he thought he was going to do because she knew the truth. She was a great mother and he would never take their son from her.
"February 20, 2008
Lately you have been doing so much! You actually speak some words on a regular occasion now! You say Bye, Love you, and Momma. You're using your communication board a lot. When you push a button and hear the word, you do the sign for that word! I can't believe how smart you are little man! The other day at school, your attendant said you were standing up so good and trying to walk everywhere! You know how to take you clothes off, and it seems like every hour you are scooting down the hall stripping so that you can take a bath! How silly are you?!
You still go to your dad's house every other weekend and stay for two nights, but thankfully you don't scream and cry when he picks you up anymore. Now, you seem happy to go bye-bye no matter where it is and aren't freaking out as much if I don't always go with you. I'm glad you're becoming so independent!
You know how to hold on to the coffee table and pull your self up to kneel next to it now, too! Of course, that means I have to be careful what I put on that table, but it's ok, I don't mind!
You've been doing really good at bedtime. It used to always be a battle to lay you down for bed, but now you only cry for a second, then get comfy and go to sleep. You still end up in bed with me and Jeff every morning, though! You always wake up early in the mornings, stand up and reach for me until I put you in the big bed with me!
I love you more than life itself little man! Never forget that!
The Break up
Jenny ran out of her medication and was unusually moody and self
conscious. During an argument Jeff said "Ya, know I can't even
stand you when you're like this!" What Jenny's brain heard was
something along the lines of, "I don't want you crazy bitch!" So
she told him to get out and not to come back. He promised he
wouldn't. She called him at work to apologize but he refused her
apology and said to have his things packed and waiting by the
door before he got off work, he was done with it all. She stopped
herself from falling apart and asked Deanna to help her pack his
things. When they finished, she broke down, she couldn't stop
crying, she called him again but he refused to talk to her so she
had Deanna call. Deanna said all he wanted was his stuff packed
and not to bother him anymore.
Jenny decided to swallow her entire bottle of muscle relaxers….
After a trip to the ER to make sure she was okay, she laid back into bed and cried herself to sleep.
After about a week of not talking to her, Jeff finally wanted to be friends with her again, and Jenny couldn't have been happier. She tried to get him back, and begged him to explain why he couldn't accept her apology, his only reply was "I'm sorry, but I just don't love you anymore and I don't ever want to be with you again." She left his brothers house bawling her eyes out and returned to her apartment.
Deanna stayed the weekend with a friend, and Zachary was at his dad's. She looked around her empty apartment and could not have ever felt more alone and depressed.
A few days later, Jeff was still trying to just be her friend, but apparently his search for casual sex hadn't gotten him very far, and when he came by to just "hang out" Jenny tried her best to cover her cuts and burns she had inflicted upon herself. They had sex, but for the first time, he jumped up out of bed, got dressed and left her just laying there…
Girls' Night Out
Deanna and Jenny needed some time out of the house. It would be
good for both of them to be adults for a little while, so Deanna
got a sitter for the night, and it was Zachary's weekend to go to
his dad's. Once the kids were both gone, the girl's got dressed
up with cute outfits, did their hair, and put on make up before
they headed out for a night bar hopping.
They played pool at a little hole in the wall bar 2 blocks from home, they sang at the top of their lungs along with the jukebox, and they laughed at how long it had been since they had time away from their kids together. In between bars, Jenny saw a man walking down the street that looked very familiar. "Deanna, slow down, I think that's Scotty!" Deanna pulled into the parking lot next to them and Jenny yelled out the window, "Hey, what's your name?" The man replied back, "Scott." It was him.
They all went to play a few more rounds of pool and have a couple more drinks. By midnight, Jenny was more drunk than she had been in years. She and Scotty caught up on old times, sharing photos of their children, and stories about love and loss. It turned out that his grandmother, the woman who had raised him, passed away only about a year ago. It was like old times between the two. Jenny wondered if this was meant to be, it was odd to happen to be out that night, and to see him walking down that same street?!
It only took a week before they were happily back in love like when they were teenagers. Scotty told her all about his life now. He had a house with a roommate an hour away that he owned, a motorcycle, and a truck that needed fixed. He had visitation with both of his daughters, and a couple of seasonal jobs.
Jenny still hadn't began birth control, she honestly believed after almost 4 years of not getting pregnant, she wasn't able to. She probably shouldn't have been so naive, because it was July when she found out she was pregnant again.