Do you remember the column I wrote about my friend, Boat? He was in the story called “Teenage Parents”. I remember writing that I was surprised when I learned he had become a father. We both used to be butterfly boys until he made his number one girlfriend pregnant. Then after his girlfriend gave birth to a baby boy, he became a sixteen-year-old dad and left our circle of friends.
I bumped into him a few months later. I was surprised about how much he had changed. He was doing pretty well and I truly respected him and his girlfriend for being able to cope with life as teenage parents. They were doing an excellent job for their age. I remember telling him that I was sure I wouldn’t be able to cope with being a father. The thought of it scared me as I really enjoyed my freedom and life as a carefree teenager.
Little did I know that I would soon be in the same boat as him. As everyone now knows, only two months after I wrote that column I found out that my girlfriend was pregnant and that my own life was about to change forever! On Friday 11th July 2003, less than a week after my 18th birthday, I became a father!
My life has been so busy recently that I had forgotten all about Boat. Then, the other day I heard some news from my friends about him. They said they saw Boat’s girlfriend hanging out with a guy. They went to say hello to her and asked about Boat. She replied “There is nothing between me and Boat now, we have broken up.” She smiled and then introduced them to her new lover. My friends said that she seemed to be very happy about it.
I was shocked. I really wanted to know the full story so I asked my friends to take me to meet her. I then asked her about what happened. She said that she was tired of being a parent after Boat had started to go back to his old life. Boat couldn’t live in the adults’ world anymore. He said to her that he had had enough. He preferred to be a butterfly boy rather than being a father.
So, she then decided to do the same thing as him. She said to me that she didn’t want to stay at home all day looking after the baby while Boat was out looking for girls. She then went out to look for a new guy. When she found someone she liked she then broke up with Boat. She moved out from his parents’ house and left the baby there with Boat’s mum.
Oh God! What happened to that happy family I met nearly a year ago? I used to respect them and what they were doing, but all of those things have gone. It showed me that they are really still teenagers. Yes, they started well, I accept that. But they couldn’t keep it up. That is the hardest thing. I now understand that from my own experience. Being a parent is a 24-hour job. It is not a video game that you can put on pause.
I am now going down the same road that Boat was on last year. I shouldn’t really judge him because anything could happen in the future. Tai and I are trying our best to be adults but we still have fights. I think we argue because we sometimes cannot understand each other. Probably because we are not mature enough.
After hearing about Boat I am now more determined to make things work. I don’t want to be like him. I want my daughter to have loving parents and to have a normal childhood.
Next week I will tell you the honest truth about life as a parent so far. Many things have not gone according to plan. I will also tell you about the time that Tai and myself nearly broke up.