A man with a disabled daughter had no luck in love until something unexpected happened, and everyone in their small town found out. All his past girlfriends appeared at his house, begging for a chance, and he had no idea what to do.3
When my girlfriend Lucia and I got pregnant, we didn’t know what to expect but were excited. However, due to some difficulty during delivery and other medical terms I never really understood, our precious daughter, Marla, became paralyzed. It took a toll on my girlfriend, who was also dealing with post-partum depression.
Eventually, Lucia left, and I was alone raising our little girl. I have not regretted it for a second. She’s the light of my life, intelligent, curious, and a trooper.
I’m a proud father, and my mother, Rosetta, loves her too. She watched her every day while I went to work. I wasn’t the most successful man in the world, but I did alright in our small town in Virginia.
Since my daughter was brilliant, I wanted her to start learning things, and one of my mother’s friends recommended their niece, Patricia, for some tutoring sessions every afternoon. She was a teacher at the local preschool and needed some extra cash, so the arrangement worked perfectly.
My eyebrows could’ve popped off my head. “What are you all doing here?” I asked them, perplexed.
She was lovely to Marla and my mother, and my life seemed great. Until I met Ella, and I fell in love at first sight.
I had not considered dating after Lucia left. It was too painful to think of the mother of my child abandoning us, so I put that part of myself away. But Ella changed everything. She was beautiful, sweet, and so attractive.
We started dating, and our chemistry was off the charts. I also told her I had a daughter, and she seemed excited to meet her. That was a huge relief. But it shouldn’t have been.
One day, we planned a family outing at the zoo. It was a safe and neutral place where Ella would be able to spend time with Marla. Something casual.
Apparently, I should’ve mentioned that Marla was disabled to Ella prior to that day, because Ella’s eyes widened as soon as I rolled up with my daughter. She faked a grin, playing along throughout the day until I received a call from her later.
“I’m sorry. I was already hesitant about dating a man with a daughter, but I can’t do this,” Ella came clean immediately.
“Ella, I’m not asking you for anything. Marla is cared for by a lot of people. You won’t be responsible for anything, and she’s amazing. You’ll see,” I said, almost begging.
“No. I can’t. I’m sorry. Goodbye,” Ella stammered quickly and hung up.
That was it. Ella was out of my life. Of course, I didn’t want anyone who felt like that towards Marla, but I was devastated. She was the first woman I had clicked with since Lucia left. My mother and even Patricia comforted me about the situation.
“Look, Ella did the right thing. She went about it the wrong way,” Patricia hesitated. “But she left before she or Marla could become attached, so that saved a lot of hurt feelings. Not everyone can deal with children, and not everyone should.”
“You’ll find someone better soon. I’m sure of it!” Patricia assured me, giving me hope before she left late that afternoon.
My mother echoed the exact words, and somehow, I was encouraged. I had been alone for too long, and I should never give up on dating.
However, I never imagined that history would repeat itself over and over. First, there was Oona, who was terrific and model gorgeous. When I told her from the start that I was raising a disabled daughter, she seemed cool with it. But whenever I tried to get her to meet Marla, she would come up with an excuse. Work. Going out with friends. An appointment. You name it. I finally called her out, and she said I was pressuring her and couldn’t do it anymore. So we broke up.
Next, I dated Janette. She was edgier with leather clothes and a no-nonsense attitude. I waited a while before telling her about Marla. That was another mistake. When she found out, she told me it was a dealbreaker because she would “never date a man with children.”
Ok, I thought that was fair because I had not been sincere. However, three more women, Maureen, Kyra, and Vanna, dumped me when they heard of Marla, and I was crushed. I lost all hope. I was done with dating in general. I knew they were not totally at fault. They could choose to date and have certain limits, but it felt horrible that none of them even gave my daughter a tiny chance to win their hearts. Marla had so much love to give.
Moreover, I felt like a loser who couldn’t give my little girl a new mom or maternal figure. Yes, she had my mom, and Patricia was so special to her. But it was not the same. I thought it wasn’t the same.
It was time to move on.
One day, I was bringing Marla home from a trip to the aquarium when she wanted a Snickers bar and a soda from the nearby convenience store. We went in, I bought the items, and my little girl suggested something odd.
“Can we buy a lottery ticket?” she asked in her sweet voice.
“What?” I laughed. “Why?”
“I see it on TV with grandma! I want to buy one. Maybe we’ll win!” Marla said excitedly.
I knew my mother was addicted to watching lottery programs even when she never bought one, so I shrugged my shoulders and bought one of each at the convenience store so that Marla could enjoy herself. I never thought that purchase would literally change our lives.
We went to my mom’s house to see some of the lottery shows. There were also some scratchers, where Marla won $5. But there was a big pot, apparently, worth almost a million dollars, and my mother was excited to see who would win that.
She was checking off the numbers with my daughter when I got up to get a drink, and suddenly, both of them yelled loudly.
“We won! We won!”
I laughed at them. “Sure, we win a million dollars!” I joked and shook my head.
“Andrew, we won!” my mother told me seriously, stressing the last word, and I stared at her face for a long minute.
It took me weeks to finally realize it was true. Even after depositing the money in the bank, I thought it would disappear. But there it was, almost a million dollars! I decided I would immediately put it to good use.
I began by making our home more disability-friendly, installing ramps, and making it easier for Marla to access things on her own around the house. We did the same for my mother’s house. A large chunk of our winnings was also invested in Marla’s college fund, which I hadn’t contributed to as much as I liked, but now it was enough so she could study whatever she wanted, wherever she pleased. I also paid all outstanding medical and mortgage bills.
Once all the important matters were settled, I got myself the new car I had always dreamed of having. It was not a wise purchase, but I thought it would be alright to treat myself. The rest of the money I saved, waiting for opportunities to invest and make it grow.
However, I never imagined what would happen next.
Living in a small town is great until you realize that people can quickly discover everything about you. Gossip traveled fast after I bought that car, and I was shocked to see Ella at my doorstep one day.
“Andrew! It’s so nice to see you!” she greeted me as if she hadn’t disappeared from my life and broken my heart.
But before I could ask her what she was doing there, I saw two cars pulling up my street. From one of them emerged Oona. She looked at Ella and frowned. But then, I saw Jannette getting out of the other vehicle. My eyebrows could’ve popped off my head.
“What are you all doing here?” I asked them, perplexed.
“I wanted to talk to you,” Oona answered first.
And Jannette and Ella echoed, “Me too.”
I thought this situation couldn’t get weirder until Vanna, Maureen, and Kyra also showed up.
“Am I being punked? What the hell is happening?” I asked, outraged by the situation. The women looked at each other with deep frowns and confusion, but none of them said anything.
Luckily, I saw my mother’s car approaching too. She was bringing Marla over, and coincidentally Patricia was with them too. My daughter’s teacher got out, helped my mother settle Marla into her chair, and walked behind them with big eyes.
My mother stared at each woman as she rolled my daughter’s wheelchair into the house. There was something in her eyes I couldn’t explain. As if she was gauging them for something. She stopped at my front door and addressed Patricia. “Patty, honey. Take Marla inside and close the door.”
“Mom, I don’t know what they’re doing here. Everybody just showed up, and I’m still trying to find out why,” I started, shaking my head and looking at the girls in confusion.
“Oh, Andrew. I love you, but sometimes, men are stupid,” she said, patting my shoulder condescendingly. “Ladies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
There were collective feet shuffles and bowed heads. Ella said, “I just wanted to talk to Andrew because we broke up so awfully.”
“Really? That’s convenient,” my mother said sarcastically. “I know why you are all here now. Scram! Right now, you harpies! You found out about my son’s money and now want to give him and my granddaughter a chance, right?”
I had no idea that was happening. I thought my mother was crazy to say something like that, but as my head turned and looked into the faces of the women I had dated, I knew it was the truth. My lips tightened, and I nodded.
“Leave,” I said calmly. “I have no interest in speaking to any of you. Leave now.”
Some tried to protest, but my mother shut them up, threatening to call the police. Slowly, they all left.
I went inside and let out a huge laugh. I was half perplexed, half relieved. I couldn’t believe those women had shown up because I had some money now. My mother laughed too, and soon, Patricia and Marla joined us. Of course, my daughter didn’t exactly know what was going on, but she was just happy.
She was content with the people in that room and sharing our merriment. My mother went to put her to bed, and I invited Patricia to sit with me on the back porch. We talked about the situation and laughed about the audacity of some people.
My mother left when Marla fell asleep, and I thanked her…. for absolutely everything.
But that night, Patricia stayed for a bit longer, and I realized that the person I had been looking for was right in front of me. She already loved my daughter, my mother, and me. I had been too heartbroken and jaded from dating to see her that way. But I did that night.
I asked her out a few weeks later and we got married two years later. Patricia adopted Marla when my little girl was ten, and we had two more kids who loved their older sister passionately.
Sometimes, the best things in life are already there in front of you. You just have to open your eyes to see.
What can we learn from this story?
Some people are not worth your time, and you should be glad not to have them in your life. The women Andrew picked didn’t deserve to be in his life after they turned their backs on him when they learned about Marla. In the end, he knew he had dodged a big bullet.
Open your eyes to the wonderful people you already have supporting and helping you. Andrew didn’t realize Patricia was the perfect woman for him until he got a visit from his ex-girlfriends because of his new money.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who sent her disabled daughter to an orphanage because her new husband told her to.
This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only.