Super Bowl Sunday -- The Commercial That Changed Everything
When I was younger, besides assuming that my parents would be around forever, I always imagined myself happily married with a large family one day. But as people say, life is full of surprises. Things didn’t happen as I’d hoped. Within just a few years of graduating from college, I experienced great loss. Both of my parents passed away. And while I had eight nieces and nephews and relished my role as Aunt Susan, I still dreamed of having a family of my own.
I had been teaching high-school English for several years when my life took another surprising turn. I had the opportunity to help out a local teenager named Jon. I’d known Jon and his family for several years, and I often hired him to walk my dog or do yard work. At one point, his family was struggling with him and asked if I could take him in for two weeks until they could come up with a plan. The weeks turned into months, and a year later his younger brother came to live with us as well. Having them in my life has been one of my greatest joys. Still, though, I longed for a husband and children of my own.
At the age of 34, I began to wonder if the life I imagined would ever come to be. Then this past autumn things began to change. I had known Kevin for at least four years. We’d dated off and on but never seriously. Around October, we decided to give our relationship a real try. I fell in love with him quickly. I had become so used to doing everything for myself and for the people around me that I was unaccustomed to the help of others. His small acts of kindness swept me off my feet. I started to picture our future together.
I was in for another big surprise on February 1, 2010. The night before, I’d made smoked sausage corn chowder for dinner. I made a huge batch and enjoyed it enough to pack a leftover container for lunch the next day. The next morning I stashed it in the faculty refrigerator and went to class. Around 10 AM I began to think about lunch, but the thought of eating the leftover soup made me so nauseated that I could not get to the faculty room fast enough to throw it away. I couldn’t stand even the thought of its being there. When I got home that afternoon, I threw away the rest of the batch, container and all. The moment I pitched that container into the trash, I knew. I had been tired beyond reason, I felt nauseated, and my breasts were tender. I picked up a pregnancy test that night and took it the next morning.
The directions said to set the pregnancy test stick on the counter for ten minutes before reading the results. It wasn’t even on the counter yet when two bright pink lines appeared. I wish I could say I was overjoyed when I saw the results, but the truth is I was scared and stunned. I had always wanted to be a mother, but this wasn’t the way I’d planned it. I didn’t tell anyone for almost a week.
On Super Bowl Sunday I finally told Kevin. Certainly I hadn’t expected him to jump up and down with excitement, but his reaction floored me. After showing him the pregnancy test and then taking another one for him, he insisted that I could not have this child. He was 29 and already had children from past relationships. He told me he didn’t have the time or money for another child, and then he left for a Super Bowl party at his cousin’s house. I went to my friend’s home to watch the game myself. I was confused and hurt by Kevin’s reaction, so I didn’t share my predicament with anyone.
With as many girls at the party as guys, the snacks and commercials were under as much discussion as the game itself. When the commercial featuring Tim Tebow and his mother came on, everybody watched with great interest. Some of the people there had heard about Focus on the Family’s “controversial” commercial in the pre-game hype. Everyone agreed that it was not preachy like the hype claimed, and we all felt it was completely appropriate to be aired during the game. I hadn’t heard about the commercial ahead of time, but I was fascinated with it for a different reason. Once I got home that night, I went to YouTube and watched the commercial several more times. Later, I went to Focus on the Family’s Web site and watched the interviews and related material.
I knew I didn’t want an abortion, but I also didn’t feel right forcing Kevin into fatherhood. I approached Kevin again a few days later, telling him I wasn’t comfortable with an abortion. He flew into a rage, something I had not seen him do before, and told me that if I insisted on having this baby, he would kill himself. In a panic, I agreed to do whatever he wanted me to do.
It was then that I reached out to Focus on the Family. I e-mailed them for guidance because I was at a loss. I felt like I was balancing my happiness against Kevin’s. The baby’s life against his father’s. The e-mail response I got back changed my life. First of all, there was no judgment in the letter. That was so important to me because I already felt guilty for choices I had made. There was plenty of advice, however. The e-mail reminded me that I was not only balancing what I wanted against what Kevin wanted; I was responsible for the life growing inside me, too. One line especially stuck with me; it said: “Remember, too, that other adults are responsible for their own actions and attitudes, and you are not to blame for the way they choose to react to your pregnancy.” I realized at that moment that Kevin’s problem was simply Kevin’s problem. I didn’t get pregnant on purpose, but now I was responsible for two people in this equation. I needed to take care of the baby and myself. I gave Kevin three choices: He could be a father in every way; he could be in the child’s life but not contribute financially; or he could choose to step out of our lives.
I really believe God made sure I saw that commercial and brought me to Focus. I wrote back to Focus to let them know they had saved a life. And while I feel sorry for Kevin and at times still afraid about the future, I am confident in my choice. I’m going to have a baby.