• Dedan K. Bruner

Ryan

Married

Father of 2

Virginia

I was about 3 months away from graduating from college when my then girlfriend, Jennifer, came to me to inform me that I was about to be a father. I remember thinking, "what am I going to do now." I was close to finishing school but I had no job prospects and I did not feel like I was "ready" to become a parent and take care of a family. Most of all, "what was I going to tell my parents?"


I was very fortunate, I grew up in a middle class family with two parents. My father was the type of person that growing up (and even to this day) that people look up to him as an example of what a man is supposed to be. Far too often I have seen people whose public persona differs from how they act behind closed doors. My father, was the same person in public as he was behind closed doors. He stood as an example for me that I strive towards everyday, an exemplar as a father, husband and overall man. These were the thought rushing through my head as I came to the realization that in a few months, I was going to have to take care of a family, when I never had to even take care of myself.


 I decided not to tell my parents until after my graduation, I didn't want to ruin it for them Graduation went well, however about three days later I received a call from my mother. She informed me that my grandmother had just had a dream about fish, which means that someone in the family is pregnant. At that moment my heart stopped, I was not ready to let them know the news just yet. My mother proceeded to eliminate people off her list. She was confident that it was not my sister. Next, she ruled out my brothers wife. Then asked me if Jennifer pregnant? I stammered as I confirmed her suspicions and tried to explain that I was planning to tell them in a day or two. My mother was not interested in my excuse. She angrily stated, "I can't believe you and hung up the phone."


Days later I went over to my parent's house. I remember sitting down in the family room, my father just sat in silence while my mother cursed me out with a look. I have never seen my mother so angry, all I could think at that time was that "I guess this will probably be the last time that I come over here because using the example set by my father, my unborn child and girlfriend(future wife) are now going to have to come before anyone else including my parents." That next morning I woke up to my mother making me breakfast. She had calmed down and she let me know that she just had to get everything out and that now she was fine. Today, Jennifer and I have been married for 16 years and we have have a 16 year olde son and daughter age 12. Since that morning at breakfast, my parents have always treated my wife as a member of the family and as a daughter.  Being a husband and a father are among the most difficult things I have ever done. My kids can make me really upset at times and they are the only people in this world that can make me both not like them and love them at the same time. I live for those times when I am driving somewhere and it is just me and my son or me and my daughter. In those moments, I can catch up with them about what is going on in their lives and how they are feeling about certain things. I let them know that as long as they are helping themselves I will do everything in my power to help them. Most of all I strive everyday to live up to the example that my father set for me, my brother and sister.

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