Josh was a teenage boy with divorced parents. His one dream was to see his family back together again. It all seems impossible—until Josh comes home with a newborn baby.
16-year-old Josh sat on his bed nostalgically gazing at a photo on his phone of his mother, Betty, his father, Derek, and himself on a picnic. He wished with all his heart that he could turn back the hands of time and go back to happier times for his family.
Josh had always dreamed of having a large family, but recent events had only seen the small family he already had being broken apart. His parents had recently divorced, and his father had moved on with a new woman even before the divorce was finalized.Josh had a deep attachment to his father since childhood, so he tried his best to maintain their relationship. The divorce was difficult for Josh, and he missed having both his parents around. However, it didn’t come as much of a shock as his parents would do nothing but fight and bicker.
“New mommy?!” Betty yelled in shock as she did the dishes. “Has Derek completely lost his mind?!”
“Josh! What are you doing?” Betty said, stepping into Josh’s room.
“Nothing, mom. Just looking at this old picture of you, me, and dad. It was an awesome picnic. I remember being so angry at you guys for finishing all the strawberries,” Josh said with a chuckle.
“Oh, yes. I remember this. It was so long ago. A different time,” Betty said, sitting next to her son. “But I hope you understand things are different between your dad and me now. He isn’t the same man he was there. He seems to only care about himself these days,” Betty explained.
“I just wish things could return to how they used to be,” Josh exclaimed.
“Yeah, well, that’s life, Josh. Things change,” Betty said, getting up. “Come now, get ready for school,” Betty said, kissing Josh on the forehead and leaving.
Betty wished her son would understand that his father was not the saint he admired so dearly. Derek was an easy-come, easy-go kind of guy. He liked things easy, so when Betty fell pregnant with Josh, he was upset to lose his freedom to the responsibilities of being a father.
Later that week, Josh was scheduled to meet his father’s new girlfriend, Sylvia, for the first time. His father had hoped it would help mend the family differences, and while Josh was excited to see his dad, he wasn’t particularly happy to meet his new girlfriend. He still hoped their family could get back together, and Sylvia only got in the way.
“Hi, champ!” Derek said as he opened the door for Josh.
“Hi, dad,” Josh said, entering the small apartment.
“I’m so glad you could make it,” Derek said as a young woman approached him from the kitchen. He kissed her on the cheek, holding her in his arms.
“Josh, I would like you to finally meet your new mommy, Sylvia,” Derek said. Josh instantly felt uncomfortable with the term ‘new mommy,’ but held his peace.
“Sylvia, this is my son, Josh,” Derek added.
“Nice to finally meet you, Josh. I’ve heard a lot about you,” Sylvia said, shaking Josh’s hand.
“Nice to meet you too,” Josh responded casually. Josh couldn’t help but admire Sylvia’s beauty. There was something very kind about her face. But she was by no means a match for his mother and could never replace her.
Josh, Derek, and Sylvia had an amazing dinner that night. Josh was happy to finally spend a little time with his father. Unfortunately, most of his attention was focused on Sylvia, and he began feeling like a third wheel.
However, as the night progressed, Josh began to take a liking to Sylvia. They both shared a love for puzzles and had an amazing time solving one after dinner. Josh and Sylvia even ended up exchanging numbers.
When Josh got home later that day, he told his mother about everything that had transpired. When Betty heard about the “new mommy” comment, she immediately lost it.
“New mommy?!” Betty yelled in shock as she did the dishes. “Has Derek completely lost his mind?!””I think he was just making a joke. I will admit it was in poor taste, but don’t read too much into it, mom,” Josh said, trying to calm his mom down, who chopped onions in a huff. The comment was clearly a minor detail that would have been better kept to himself.
“No, Josh!! He can’t say things like that! The nerve!” Betty said, banging the pots and pans together as she continued with the dishes in frustration. “Listen, I don’t want you going over there anymore!” she added.
“Mom, that’s not fair! You can’t forbid me from seeing my own father!” Josh complained.
“I’m sorry, mom. But he’s family. I had to do something.”
“I can and I will! I don’t want you contacting or communicating with him either!” Betty exclaimed in a huff. Josh knew better than to argue with his mother when she was this angry. He sadly walked off into his room.
A few weeks passed, and while Josh still wasn’t in communication with his father, he and Sylvia would still text occasionally. Josh’s father was often hard to reach, so his new relationship with Sylvia helped him keep tabs on his father. One day, Josh received a shocking call from Sylvia.
“Hi, Josh. I didn’t know who else to call,” Sylvia whimpered in tears. “Your dad left me, Josh! I told him I was pregnant, and he just up and left. I don’t know what to do,” Sylvia cried.
“I’m so sorry, Sylvia,” Josh simply said. He was only a teenager and had no idea how to handle such a situation.
“Please help me, Josh. I’m an immigrant, and I don’t have family here. I’m all alone,” Sylvia pleaded.
“I’ll try to talk to my mother and see if she can help,” Josh said.
Josh tried to talk to his mother, but the minute she heard Sylvia’s name, she wanted no part in it at all. His mother was his last hope. As a 16-year-old teenager, there was very little Josh could do for the woman.
Time flew by, and Josh was still heartbroken over his shattered family life. His father was long gone, his mother had become more hardened, and all warmth and laughter had evaporated away from his home.
One evening, Betty was waiting for Josh to come home. They had a lawyer’s appointment to get to, and it was already getting late. “Where is this boy?” Betty wondered, frustrated at her 11th call going unanswered. Something was wrong. It was unlike Josh to go awol on her.
Betty was on the verge of calling the police when the door finally opened, and Josh appeared on the threshold carrying a baby in his arms.
“Josh?! Who’s baby is that? Where did you find the child?” Betty asked in awe.
“I’m sorry, mom, but I couldn’t leave him. This is Sylvia’s child and..my brother,” Josh explained.
Betty was about to lose it. She couldn’t believe her son had blatantly defied her like that. But as her blood boiled within her, the sight of the little baby in Josh’s arms sank her heart. She decided to calm down and hear Josh out.
“As you know, Dad left Sylvia after discovering she was pregnant. She’s an immigrant with no family here, so she was all alone after he left. The pregnancy and childbirth took a toll on her health. And just a few days after she was discharged after giving birth, she was hospitalized and ended up in intensive care,” Josh explained.
“Please, mom!! I’ll adopt him myself as soon as I’m of age. Please!!”
“And where do you fall into all of this, Josh?” Betty asked, concerned.
“I was the only contact Sylvia had at the hospital. So the doctor called me while I was in school and said she needed someone to take care of the baby while Sylvia was in recovery,” Josh explained.
“You’re 16, Josh! What was your plan here?” Betty asked in frustration.
“I’m sorry, mom. But he’s family. I had to do something,” Josh explained.
Betty realized she had no choice but to accept this child. She hoped Sylvia would soon recover and take her child. But in the meantime, she made it clear to Josh that he would have to take care of his brother himself.
Josh tried everything to contact his father. But the minute he heard about the baby, the man immediately hung up. Josh realized that he was all alone in this situation. For the next few days, he took on the role of a babysitter and mother.
He fed and washed the baby, put him to bed, and never let him out of his sight. All along, he waited to receive a message from the hospital stating Sylvia had finally recovered and could take the baby.
However, when the hospital finally called, it was not the news Josh had hoped to hear.
“Sorry to inform you, sir. But Sylvia passed on earlier today from organ failure,” the doctor said over the phone.
Josh looked at the motherless boy, and shuddered at the road that lay ahead for the child. He would need to be placed in the system and eventually given up for adoption.
Josh dreaded the idea of his brother being raised in the system, but it seemed he had no other option. Or was there?
Josh suddenly had a crazy idea. It was a long shot, but his options were limited at this point.
“No!! No way, Josh!! I’m not going to be the guardian of this child!” Betty yelled as her son tried to pitch his idea to her at the dinner table.
“Please, mom!! I’ll adopt him myself as soon as I’m of age. Please!!” Josh pleaded.
“No, Josh!! I’m sorry, that’s just a responsibility none of us are ready for. Especially you. I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” Betty concluded.
The next day Josh was in tears as he packed his brother’s things, preparing to drop him off at the hospital. Betty watched her heartbroken son as he grabbed his brother’s bags and strolled to the door in tears. Betty stopped him just as he got to the door.
“Wait, Josh. Maybe we can give your idea a shot. I mean, he is family, after all,” Betty said. Josh hugged his mother graciously.
A few months later, Betty officially became the guardian of Sylvia’s child. She even grew to love the child, naming him Andrew after her grandfather. Baby Andrew became a significant part of their family, and they all grew to love him. The addition of Andrew to the family brought Josh the same joy he had experienced before his parent’s divorce.
When Josh turned 18, he eventually adopted his brother, Andrew. Josh had a girlfriend by then, and just a few years later, the couple got engaged. She was delighted to step into little Andrew’s life and took on a motherly role along with Betty.One day, Betty, Andrew, Josh, and his fiancée were out for a day in the park when Derek called. He spoke to Betty, trying to apologize for everything that had happened. He had only recently learned about Sylvia’s passing and was now prepared to step into his role as a father.”It’s too late, Derek, “Betty explained as she watched Josh, his fiance, and little Andrew playing in the park. “Little Andrew already has a family that loves him dearly. I’d hate for you to mess that up. Goodbye, Derek,” Betty concluded, hanging up.