Meeting the ex-wife and the three adult children of the man who was my lover, but who was also old enough to be my own father, was finally over. I can’t really say that “I passed the test.” In fact, I don’t think there even was a test. I think all of them—maybe with the exception of his oldest daughter, Juliet—had their minds made up before they met me, and they just hoped their dad’s relationship with me was fleeting and temporary. There was no doubt in my mind that they feared that his remarriage to me—or anyone else for that matter—would threaten their future inheritance.
Unfortunately for them, they were dead wrong, at least as far as their father was concerned. However, I began to have misgivings about my relationship with him, not so much about his family, but about the one I didn’t have. I was in my mid-30s and I had to decide if staying with Patrick was worth giving up having my own kids. Was it worth giving up being a mother someday?
I knew I had to talk to him about it, but I put it off until after we had returned from yet another fling in Hawaii. I just gave myself over to him while we were there. He was ecstatic about the sex, which was usually three times a day. Who was I to complain? He was an expert between the sheets and I enjoyed what he had to offer.
When we returned to Chicago, I went back to work with a vengeance and it wasn’t long before I got a promotion. I now had a corner office on the 35th floor of a skyscraper with views of the Sears Tower, Wacker Drive, the river, and Lake Michigan. I also had a staff of 30 to supervise. And I had to travel even more, although the locations weren’t bad, like California, New York, and Atlanta. I loved all of those big cities. I was extremely busy and it was somewhat threatening to Patrick, who called me far too often during the day just to tell me he missed me and loved me.
One evening, while we were out for dinner in a northern suburb, I broached the subject of kids. I told him I was in the prime of my child-bearing years and I didn’t want to make a mistake I would regret all my life by not having kids of my own. I assured him there was no one man I could single out who would fit the bill as a father, but I was concerned that if I stayed in an exclusive relationship with him, I would never meet that man. He was crushed, to say the least.
I could tell he was thinking about ways to make it OK, ways to make me happy, ways to try to find a solution. He always wanted me to feel as though I had everything. But this one, he couldn’t solve or fix. Nor could money help. His vasectomy was over 20 years old; he was not a candidate for a reversal of that surgery. And quite frankly, he was just too old.