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I’m Glad I Was Forced to Take a Paternity Test

This isn’t the article I thought I’d be writing. I was sure I’d be writing one about how glad I was to be in the clear, to be free of the fear I’d fathered a child. I was confident until a month ago that I was still a free man, free of all my responsibilities, free to go wherever I wanted, to do whatever I wanted, to be whoever I wanted.

That was what the article would have been, a joyous claim of my freedom once I was vindicated after taking a paternity test required by my ex-girlfriend. I just couldn’t imagine this kid she had had was mine. After all, our relationship was brief—only a few weeks—and we were careful, for the most part. Perhaps a few mistakes were made, but it was very few. I was her rebound relationship, and I just assumed it must be the other guy (who she’s on bad terms with, unlike me (our breakup was amicable)), and that’s why she wanted to press this responsibility on me.

I thought that’s what I’d be writing. Instead, I’m writing that I’m a father, and I’m also writing that I couldn’t be more thrilled! I never thought that’d be the case. For those who don’t know, a paternity test is a DNA test to see if you match with a child that you aren’t sure is yours. I took the test willingly enough, confident it would exonerate me of any responsibility, so you can imagine my first reaction when I heard otherwise.

Shock isn’t a strong enough word to describe it.

But after that, once I started thinking, and once I got to see the little guy up close, I saw how silly I’d been to assume the kid wasn’t mine. He’s got my nose, after all. And he’s got my smile too, though he doesn’t really know how to smile yet.

My ex- has been very good about the whole thing, I have to say. She was patient with my denials and understanding when I started to come back around.

There’s still tons to sort out now. There are custody issues and child support, and all kinds of things I never imagined I’d be dealing with, but even with those new responsibilities, I just can’t help but feel thrilled by the whole thing. Suddenly, that free life I had feels really empty and meaningless. What was I going to do with all that freedom but sit around and feel good about having options? I have fewer options now, true, but I’ve got more to look forward to every weekend. For now, that’s when I get to visit the little guy most often.

I know this isn’t the most common story in the world when there’s a paternity test involved. I always assumed the results would look more like one of those talk shows where everyone gets into fistfights. I didn’t think they could lead to so much positivity. Shows what I knew, right?

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