Actually mine and Corey’s entire relationship has been one big bonding experience. Every time we get together we cram every experience we can into the short time. I have never tried to be Corey’s father, just a good buddy with whom he could let down his hair and be himself. He seems to appreciate that. He was blessed with a good “daddy” in Larry, Connie’s second husband, and refers to him as “Papa”. You might think that would bother me, but under the circumstances, I am thankful he had someone at home that he could look up to and admire.
His mom and I divorced when he was just 3 ½ to 4 years old. It broke my heart as he stood and watched as I loaded what was left of my existence, under the attentive eye of a deputy sheriff, into my car. The law was there because a restraining order had been issued by her lawyer, which, in the state of
Beginning with that first weekend, I picked up Corey on Friday after work and kept him until Saturday afternoon for as long as I could. Naturally, as he got older that time grew shorter and shorter, until he no longer came to spend Friday night with me. Sports, girls, and college ended it forever, and today we see each other one or two days out of the month.
I understand completely, because he has a family, friends, work, and other interests in his life totally separate from my life. I take what we get and will often times drop previously scheduled plans just to be with him.
Those days after the divorce were lonely times for me, having been used to having a lot of her family and our friends around. Suddenly, I was on my own. It took a while for me to learn how to develop new friends and other interest.
It also took me a few months to settle into my own place. In the meantime, I moved in with Connie’s parents, back where we began 10 years earlier, until I could find and buy a house of my own. I could never repay what I owe her parents; first giving us a place to live while I went to school, and finally a place for me to get my feet back on the ground! They always thought of me as the son they never had, not just a son-in-law, and even today we greet and hug as family.
However, Friday night and Saturdays remained important. I lived for those few hours a week with Corey. Unfortunately, I did not have a lot of extra money to do a lot of interesting things, but I tried to make what we could do very interesting for him.
My mom will still start to cry today if I start telling about making Corey’s pancakes with water, because I could not afford milk. However, he never even noticed the difference and he loved, still loves, my pancakes. I would eat two wieners; a personal size can of spinach, and some cottage cheese for my meals. I lost 30 pounds quickly!
I owe what “we” have today to Judy, who stood by me and my debts after we married some four years later! She handles all the money and has never put us in danger of busting our budget.
Corey and I wrestled a lot on the carpet of my “bachelor pad,” watched TV, played with his cars in the dirt, and just rode around. As he grew, we did pinewood derbies, went to baseball practice and games, and visited the local zoo and museums.
Sometimes our entertainment was no more than exploring the forested areas around Harriman. As an example, here is a clip of us fooling around on top of Buzzard’s Bluff, which overlooks the area.
By the time this was made, Judy and I were married and there was money to do other things on the weekend like fish from our boat, hunt, and swim in our pool. However, I don’t think any of the times we had together then meant anymore than the times we spent in the woods.
I remember his little hands, his soft skin, his smell, and how I hurt for him for having to wear glasses at such a young age. He was my boy and all this combined to form the bond and the love I have for him today.