Subject: Takeoffs and Landings Part 2: Chapter 4 Matt I knew that we needed to hit the ground running when we got home and I started with getting the house clean from top to bottom. I channeled my mom and tried to do all the cleaning chores that normally never get done, like washing the baseboards. Later that day I went out and got corner protectors and plastic plugs for every outlet in the house. I figured there was no time like the present to start thinking like a dad. I spent the next couple days cleaning and planning. I got out the phone book and found the numbers for some adoption lawyers in our area and even made a few calls. The following Monday I went back to work and my boss greeted me with a hug. She knew that I’d been on bereavement leave and that meant a lot to me. “How are you doing, Matt?” she asked. “I’m pretty good. I found out I’m going to be a father,” I replied. I couldn’t wait to tell someone. “Oh?” she asked. She knew that I was gay and that I had a husband. “My brother and sister in law had a son and Jared and I are going to adopt him,” I explained. “That’s wonderful,” she said as she offered me another hug. “I’m sure you’ll make a great parent.” Over the next few weeks I was glad that I’d saved up a lot of vacation and sick time. Between meetings with our lawyer and then our new caseworker Jared and I were pretty busy. We both had to fill out questionnaires that asked questions about what our childhoods were like, personality traits in our parents, and our views about sex and sexuality. In the middle of all the chaos Jared was my rock. He kept me strong and just like during the funeral I was there for him too. If there’s one thing he’s good at though it’s turning a crisis into something positive. I was walking out of work through our parking garage and when I started my car it made a horrible grinding sound. I got out and looked underneath and there was a huge pool of orange liquid meaning my transmission was done for. I got back in so nobody would hear me and let it out. “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!” I screamed. I’m normally not like that but when I get stressed I can be. I dialed Jared’s number and thankfully he wasn’t flying that day. He picked me up and called a tow truck to get the car home. We got an estimate and it was going to be north of $4,000 to fix everything they found was wrong with it. “It’s probably not worth fixing. It’s seven years old already,” Jared said. “We’re both due for an upgrade. How about we go car shopping? After all we’re going to have a lot more passengers than we’re used to pretty soon,” he said flashing me a grin. “I think we’re both due for an upgrade,” I replied and I could tell he started getting excited. By that time they didn’t even make Oldsmobiles anymore and our cars were both getting rarer and rarer. I started looking in the newspaper for sales while Jared decided he’d take his time picking out the car he wanted. That weekend we were at the Chrysler dealership and they made me a great offer on an Aspen, their biggest SUV that had 7 seats and a V8 engine. It was black and had leather seats and wood grain accents on the dashboard and instrument panel. As soon as I got it on the road I knew I had to have it. “I think we found a winner,” I said as I turned to Jared and flashed him a smile. “The only way you’re getting this car is if I get to drive it every now and then,” he said playfully. “Deal,” erdemli escort I said as we shook hands and laughed. Jared ended up buying a Buick Rendezvous and it was such a nice car. It was an SUV like mine but more of a crossover. He made sure to get the third row seating so that both of our cars could accomodate our parents, Danny, and anyone else we might be bringing with us. A few weeks later we started our first parenting classes. I learned a lot about my own upbringing when I looked back on the way I was raised and the issues my parents had that I knew about. Once that was done we had to go through interviews with the social worker. They asked a lot of personal questions and some of them were hard to answer. Then they came to the house and looked around, making sure it was safe for a child that age. “Well it looks like everything checks out,” the social worker said to us as we held hands. “We’ll be recommending that the judge place him with you two.” We both let out a sigh of relief as we embraced in a tight hug. We went out to a steakhouse for dinner to celebrate and that’s when Jared suggested something I wasn’t expecting. “You know I was thinking earlier,” he began as he looked up from his meal and straight into my eyes. “I think we should change our last names. Have them hyphenated. That way when we get Danny there’s no question whose boy he is.” Those words packed a punch. That wasn’t something I had really thought about, not that I really cared either way. But when I thought about it in those terms I got kind of emotional. It really made it hit home that he wasn’t my nephew anymore, he was my son. Two weeks later we were back in Illinois, standing before a family court judge alongside our lawyer with Jared’s parents and Sam sitting in the gallery. Jared and I held hands as the judge looked over all the documents. “Everything here appears to be in order. It’s my pleasure to grant the application for adoption as well as the petition for name change. From this point forward the minor shall be known as Daniel Thomas Graves-Ryan and the petitioners as Jared Anthony and Matthew Joseph Graves-Ryan. It is so ordered.” I saw the tears running down Jared’s face as he brought me in for a tight hug. We cried tears of joy together before Jared whispered two words I’ll never forget: “We’re parents.” We flew home to California the next day and Danny was pretty wiped out when we got home. We put him to sleep in his crib and snuck off to our bedroom not knowing when we’d get this chance again. I put my arms on his shoulders as we kissed and all of a sudden things were progressing at lightning speed. We both ripped our clothes off as fast as we possibly could and before I knew it I was on the bed and he was getting between my legs. Jared pushed inside me and all the air came out of my lungs. He started thrusting and I went to heaven. At the same time we had to make sure to stay quiet so we didn’t wake Danny up. My grimace hid the pleasure as Jared got closer and closer and before he knew it he was exploding inside me. We both panted to catch our breath as Jared rolled over beside me. “It’s going to take some adjustment now that we can’t be as loud as we want,” Jared said and we both laughed. “At least we don’t have to worry about any accidents,” I said and he laughed even harder. That was probably the easiest moment we had after tarsus escort we adopted Danny. About a half hour later he woke up crying and needed to be changed. The social worker had shown us how to do this but it still wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Eventually we got into a rhythm and not long after Jared’s parents joined us in California. They rented a high-rise apartment in downtown so they wouldn’t have to do any yardwork and had a better chance of making friends with their neighbors. The day they moved in they came over to our house with a gift wrapped in wrapping paper. “It’s for you,” Sue said as she handed it to me. “Me?” I asked dumbfounded. “It’s your new best friend,” she said jokingly. I opened it and it was a crock pot. Now I was even more confused. “You aren’t going to have a whole lot of time left to cook especially with Jared gone so much so I thought I’d get you something that would make it easier,” she explained. “You just dump in your ingredients in the morning and dinner will be ready when you get home.” “Yeah Jared being gone isn’t something I like to think about right now,” I said rubbing the back of my neck. “We’re here to help,” Tom said putting his hand on my shoulder consolingly. “It only gets easier as time goes on.” The first three months went by agonizingly slow yet as fast as a blur at the same time. Jared was usually gone four to five days a week. He would usually fly to Minneapolis on Thursday, fly a three day trip on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and if he got in too late to take the last flight to Sacramento he had to come home on Monday. Every day I would get up at my usual time, take a shower and get ready for work while getting Danny ready for the day, drop Danny off at Sue and Tom’s, and go to work. I’d be running on three or four hours of sleep if I was lucky and I could barely get my work done. At 5:00 I headed over to my in-laws’ to pick him up and head home and spend the rest of the evening changing diapers. My heart was filled with joy watching Danny’s milestones. He took his first steps one evening when Jared was home, his first word was “daddy,” and his first favorite meal was Gerber’s chicken and gravy baby food. After a few months I was getting worn down. I beat myself up on the inside because I knew how much I loved him and how proud I was to be his dad but I was almost to my breaking point. One Sunday afternoon in the spring of 2008 I found myself going about my day as if I was an observer. I was doing everything I had to do, taking care of Danny, cooking dinner, doing chores, but I felt like I was floating in the corner of the room watching myself do it. I knew that I needed help and fast. Jared was going to be home in a couple hours and I just sat down on the couch trying to hold myself together after I put Danny down for a nap. About an hour later Jared walked through the door and took one look at me and knew something was wrong. “Hey, what’s up,” he asked in a concerned tone. “Jared I can’t do this anymore,” I said quietly sounding cold. “What do you mean?” he asked. “I can’t take care of him and run the house and work full time anymore! It’s killing me! I can’t do this anymore!” I spat back. I didn’t realize how harsh that was going to sound and I’ll never forget the look on Jared’s face. “Are you saying you’re leaving me?” he asked as he started to cry. “Jared akdeniz escort no,” I said before I started breaking down in tears too. “No I’m not leaving you,” I said as I wiped away the tears. “I need you.” He looked at me blankly. “I can’t do this all by myself anymore. I need you home. I need you, Jared, I need you,” I pleaded sounding more and more desperate. “Okay, okay,” he whispered trying to console me. “I’ll figure this out, I promise. Why don’t I ask my parents if they can take him for a few days and we can go wherever you wa-” he said before I cut him off. “I don’t want to go anywhere!” I shouted, irritated. “I just want to be here, at home, with you.” “We can do that. I’ll trim my schedule and only fly a turn a week. That way I’ll he home more than I’m away,” he replied. “Honestly Jared I wish you could get a job that doesn’t involve being gone for days at a time.” He put his head in his hands and let out a sigh. “I think there’s a solution but it involves moving,” he said and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Moving? What a great fucking idea! We start our lives all over again in some brand-new place I’ve never been and where I don’t know anyone. Again! I’m so sick of bending over backwards and short-changing my own life so you can do whatever the fuck you want!” “What do you want me to do, quit? Who the fuck is going to pay me anywhere near what I’m making with a psychology degree and no experience? In case you haven’t noticed the only job I’ve ever worked that didn’t involve flying planes was bagging groceries at Schnucks when I was fucking fifteen!” His shouting woke Danny up and Jared backpedaled I cried as I went to go get him. “Matt I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that, I feel really bad.” I shook my head and carried Danny back into the living room. I sat down on the couch next to Jared and handed him over. I sighed to gather myself. “What was your idea?” I asked. “I’ll change airplanes. I’ll transfer bases to Seattle and only fly turns, that way I get up in the morning, fly to Los Angeles or somewhere like that and back, and be home in time for dinner. Would that solve the problem? I mean with the Delta merger it’s a real possibility.” “I don’t know,” I said shaking my head. “What about your parents?” “If they come, they come. If not, I’ll be home every day to help. I want to make this right,” he replied. “If that’s what has to happen that’s what has to happen. But I want you to keep in mind that I have made every sacrifice since we’ve been together. I moved to bumfuck Illinois to be with you, I let Sam come with us to California and paid a price for that, I agreed to raise a child when I had never even wanted to be a father or really considered what I was getting myself into, I work full time and am basically a single parent more days than I’m not, I have to ‘meet my own needs’ more often than not if you know what I mean and that’s assuming I’m not too exhausted. And at the end of most days after all that, I get into bed and fall asleep by myself five nights a week.” I rattled off pointing to my chest with each “I.” “And now you want to ask me and your parents to just drop everything and move yet again right after they just uprooted their entire lives to come out here to California? You are asking for a lot more than you realize and you don’t seem to see any reason why someone might push back,” I said as I headed into the bedroom. I laid down on the bed and slept until 10:00 that night. *** Hey everyone, thanks for reading! Let me know what you think hoo. Whether you like it or not or just want to get to know me, please drop me a line. I always write back. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you’ll stay tuned for chapter 5!

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