While doing some cleaning this morning, I came across the baby book of my step-son Jayson. Jayson was 10 months old when I first met him. He was living with the young lady that would later turn out to be my first wife, Debbie.
Leafing through this book brought a flood of memories back. Seeing pictures of him as a baby, toddler, and young man and remembering the places that we lived and visited were tough sometimes. There was a picture of him and I at the beach (see above) at Santa Cruz and another of the two of us at Yosemite on a very cold day. There were also a few pictures of his mom, him and me. How long ago they seemed to be. Debbie was so young in those days, but then she was only 22 years old. I often feel cheated when I think of her. Not so much for myself, but for the children she left behind. (For those of you that may not know, she died of leukemia in 2001. We were married for just over 10 years.) There are times when the three that I had with her, Archie, Tyler and Cheyanne, have a rough go of it, but Yvette has done a fantastic job at walking the line between being the mom and not replacing Debbie. I wish I could do as good a job with Joshua as she does with my three.
Debbie had another son, before Jayson. She had him when she was 16 years old. She never talked too much about him, I believe it hurt too much. She had a rough childhood and at that point in her life, she would do anything to get out of the house, including getting pregnant. So she did. She had a boy and put him up for adoption. He would be around 24 years old today, and I have no idea where he lives. In the back of my mind, I hope he somehow can find me. I'd like to tell him about his mother someday.
And that brings me back to Jayson. He and I have had a bit of a rocky time of it the past eight years or so. While Debbie was sick, I kept her home so she could be with her children. It meant a lot to her and also to the kids, but that meant that I had to rely on Jayson to help sometimes with her. He had to do things that no kid should ever have to do, and for that I'm really sorry. I know it was hard on him as it was for me too. After she died, Jayson's father took him from his two brothers and his sister to live with him and his family. Jayson also has a couple of brothers from his father. His father and Debbie were never married. I have always felt it was a money thing, Jayson would receive survivor benefits and there would be no more child support to pay. That's not to say that I don't believe that Jayson wasn't loved, I do. But believe it was mostly about the money. Jayson was not allowed to come over to my house to visit his brothers and sister, nor was he allowed to even call. If my kids, or myself called there, we were told that he wasn't home and he would be given the message. He never returned a single call.
All this sounds very sad, but out of the blue, I received a call from his father telling me that we were invited to Jayson's graduation from middle school to high school. We went and saw him graduate. After that, when the kids would call, he would be home and get to talk to them. We went to his high school grad in 05 and he came to Suzie's funeral with his step-mother. He stayed for a few hours with the family and then called and asked if Archie and him could go to a movie the next weekend. They did. So things have gotten a little better. Cheyanne still misses him dearly,and he keeps telling her that they will do something together, but still haven't, but I have hope.
Some day I hope to be able to spend a few hours with him, just the two of us. I would like for us to go through his baby book and his box that holds all the stuff from his childhood, that I still have up in the closet. I'd like to talk to him about his mother and about he and I. About living at the coast and special memories I have of just him. I hope that day comes.