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I’m Andrew Start and I’m from Spokane, Washington.
I got a phone call at home one day and she was crying and very upset. She said, “I went to the hospital today and I’m pregnant.” And I just tried to recall how that could happen because we’d always been safe. Except for once.
And the agreement had been, because of our age difference, you know at this point I think I was 16 and she was 20, that if something came up, she would have an abortion. Both of us thought that was the right choice. And I think her being a little older and out of high school, she decided she wanted to keep the baby. At that point she just sort of gave me the choice since I was ready to go to college in a year and she said, “You can choose to be a part of this child’s life or you can choose to not be. And this child doesn’t even have to know who you are.” And so I just sort of weighed…I guess weighed the issue as best as I could. I was 16 years old, ready to come out of the closet. I said obviously we’re not going to get together, we’re not going to get married and try to make this work. I know we can have a relationship but I don’t think it will last forever, and I don’t want to be in the middle of a divorce in 3 years at the age of 18 with a 3-year-old kid. But I do want to be part of her life as much as I can. Well, I didn’t know it was going to be a “she” at that point.
So I told my father that she was pregnant. And he said, “Oh my God! What?! I thought you were gay!” And I said, well, you know, I think I am. And he said, “God damnit, Andy. What are we gonna do, blah blah blah.” And my mother obviously freaked out but they both came around and throughout the pregnancy showed their support. And when Chandler was born, she was just born into a really strange, sort of non-nuclear but supportive environment. And the rest is sort of history actually. I went off to college, I never said I was going to stay around but all through college, whenever I had a chance to come home I did. And it was hard when she was young, because when they’re really young and you’re not around a lot, it’s hard to create a connection. But as she gets older, every year our connection gets stronger and stronger even though I’m still not there.
My daughter is about to enter high school in another year which is crazy. And I still haven’t gotten that phone call, like, “I hate you, you ruined my life, blah blah blah” and I keep expecting it and every time I see her, we Skype, that’s our way of talking which is great that I can actually see her. It’s just like picking up where we left off, just like you would with a best friend.
I mean, obviously I probably won’t get the opportunity to actually physically create a child with someone, but having her in my life certainly makes me consider adopting. I mean, if I’m in the right relationship I think I definitely want to have more children, which I don’t think that I necessarily would be inclined to say that without her.