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Unexpected Surprise. Part Three.

After months of dating, I began to envision my future with Eric. I thought after I graduated from college, "I may move to Atlanta." Eric made me feel seen and beautiful. Although, marriage was never an afterthought. I enjoyed my independence. We both did. I realize now, I had trust concerns. I used to dream of my happily ever after but never believed in it. I grew up in a divorced home. My daddy was not around much in my adolescent years due to working and my mom never had a healthy relationship with any man she ever dated. The marriage between my granny and papa Patterson was solid. They were married over fifty years. I know it was not perfect, but nothing is in this life. Sidenote: My granny always encouraged me to work things out with Eric if I could. She may have been "old school" but full of good wisdom. Marriage is not easy. Parenting is not easy. Relationships are not easy. Nothing comes easy in life that is worth having. That is why we need God. God's grace and mercy may cover us but if you want to reap the benefits of living out the abundant life God created for you; A personal relationship with your heavenly father is of upmost importance. The answer to all of your questions is inside of you. God wants you to succeed.

Are you confused in the season you are in and do not know how to move forward or what road to take? Ask God.

God answers prayers. How do I know? I keep a prayer journal. When I am feeling doubtful or struggling with an issue... I read my old prayers that have come into fruition and have been answered. There are many prayers I am still waiting on answers, but I believe in God's promises, and I believe he works all things out for my good.

In this season of my life, I am trusting God for his guidance in all areas of my life. The biggest shift in my thinking and attitude now is that I want what God has for me even if that means waiting for HIS TIMING not my own. When I take control and choose to be the Sailor of my own ship, I end up shipwrecked. Nothing works out and I am consumed with anxiety, depression and impatience. I am quickly reminded that God has me in the palm of his hands and I am continually in need of pruning. If I relied on my will and wants...I promise you I would not be where I am today. Because, IF IT WERE ME, I would have not chosen to forgive, pray for the people who have hurt me, or live free from addiction. BUT GOD. He had his plan, and I am grateful today he did not allow me to have mine.

The night before my graduation my prince charming drove to Montgomery to attend my rockstar weekend. It was a Thursday evening and I had just been dropped off home by my daddy and stepmom. We attended my ceremony for graduating from the school of business at Faulkner. My daddy was proud and relived, I am sure. He kindly reminds me today that I have a college education and need to use it! Gotta' love his honesty. I remember that weekend so vividly. Eric walked in with yellow flowers, a card, and a big pack of his favorite gum! My taste was always the most expensive. I got it from my mama. (Back then my best friend would shop at Plato's closet, and I would not dare where secondhand clothing. She would make fun of me! That changed after my experience at The Foundry! I enjoy visiting thrift stores now but not working in one.)

I was drinking a Coors Lite beer when he opened the bag of our "essentials" for my graduation party. My eyes lit up. All I thought was I cannot party like a rockstar tonight. My family will kill me! I was thrilled. I was set to have a weekend to remember! I always had pain pills to cure my hangovers in the morning. It was my antidote to any headache. We agreed to chill, drink a few, and go to bed. There was never drink a couple to relax when we were together. We drank to get drunk and feel the buzz. We enjoyed our evening together. It was still a very late night but nothing we were not accustomed to. I do not how I used to party all night and wake to work/school and do it all over again. It is the phenomenal of being young or the 'fountain of youth' maybe. The next morning, I woke to my antidote pill and coffee. I shared one with Eric. We took care of each other like that. I loved my mornings with my 'happy pill', coffee and cigarette. We both dressed and looked fabulous. It was a happy day for me. I looked more forward to after graduation. When I could drink and snort all the cocaine and Adderall I wanted. And that I did. I had my graduation pool party at my daddy's house. Before, me and Eric, my brother and his ex-wife Janine and other friends made it to my dad's home we stopped by a local bar and starting shooting shots. It was my brother's idea, and he is just like my mama when you try to tell him no. It does not register and is not a part of their vocabulary. Dex handed me a pain pill as a gift unaware that I bought my own and was addicted. During this time, I was cautious with my pills. I did not take a lot at one time. For me, it took off the edge and every three to four hours I ingested one or two. While under the influence all of my insecurities disappeared, and I loved the false sense of being okay with who I was. I did not have to be perfect or worry about things outside of my control. It was my numbing agent.

We had a blast together. My family and friends were there for me and everything was decorated perfectly with lots of pink and sparkles. Eric surprised me with a cruise for my gift. He scored lots of brownie points for that. We left that evening for the bar. My brother Dex was not a drinker, but he got drunk and fought with Janine while scoring cocaine from Eric. I specially said I did not want to do it around my brother! Dex never liked Eric, so Eric was trying to make friends with him. It was fun and I danced the night away until the following morning when I went to pick up my vehicle from my daddy's house. We dosed off for maybe three hours prior to visiting my dad. Everything was fine while I was there. We talked and had made plans for them to come hangout at another friend's home for another party that afternoon.

I began to drive and immediately felt off kilter. I felt like I could not breath. I thought I was about to die from an overdose. It felt like all of the substances had sent off alarms in my body and was about to shut down. I immediately called my friend and told her I had to pull over that I did not feel right. I left my car and went home. I drank water and laid in the bed for about an hour. Eric went to pick up my car. When he returned and I felt better the party began again. I thought the cure to my anxiety attack was more alcohol. I literally partied until my body gave out that Sunday evening. I swore I would never do that again. Partying for one night I was used to; carrying it on for more than two days I did not care for. Not only was it physically exhausting but it demerited my mental health. Monday morning my daddy expected me to work at his office. He told me I would work there until I found my own job. Monday morning came around and I could not let him see me in such out of character. I sent him a text and said I would see him on Tuesday. Of course, he was not pleased. I felt guilt and shame, but I mentally was not in shape to carry on conversation with anyone. I was not one to call out for work ever. I was reliable and responsibility.

In that moment, when the substances had affected my morals and character, I never wanted to drink again until four days later. So, as I worked and continued my relationship with Eric the surprise of a lifetime occurred. I began to have cravings for food. Random food that I would not normally eat daily. I was about two weeks pregnant when I knew something was different. I had an internal knowing very shortly after conception with both of my pregnancies. I thought, "this cannot be. Eric can't have kids." Well, we all know that not to be true!!! Eric had many back surgeries and hernia's that the doctor had told him he had a slim chance having children. What I heard was...he can't have kids and I do not have to worry about it. And so that is how our angel Bentley Rose came into this world! It was all God's plan. I am so thankful for my blue-eyed sassy girl. Life would not make sense without her. She gave me a new purpose for living.

I waited a couple of weeks to buy the pregnancy tests. Ironically, it was my Mama's birthday. After work I decided to go shopping for a cute outfit for mama's birthday dinner. After shopping, I stopped by a CVS and bought three tests. All were positive. I could not believe it. All I thought was I am not married and pregnant. My mama and daddy are going to be so ashamed and disappointed in me. Keep in mind- I live in the bible belt. I may not have been living according to my traditional upbringing, but I knew better.

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