Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of the Holidays I Do Not Participate In

Fathers Day has been the one that is secretly the most bittersweet. It is a day I celebrated as a kid by making my grandfather a paper tie or doodling something for my uncle. Eventually my grandpa moved away to Florida and my uncle had kids of his own. So I stopped participating. Some years I will send a card to my grandpa but it has become less important over the years.

The subject of my biological father has not always been great. The man thought to be him was confirmed when I was 14 years old via paternity test with the state of California. I remember seeing the results back then, something like 99.987% possibility. Maybe the only way to have really known would have been to have seen the deed done in June 1982 and watch my mom every day until she gave birth. But anyways. I wish I had known as much about DNA and biology as I do now; it may have helped.

Things were fine at first and my parents were speaking and making plans. In December of 9th grade (this would have been around 1997 I think) I was supposed to formally meet him for the very first time. That never happened. I got scared and called the whole thing off. I remember the feeling because I have had it twice since then about 2 different circumstances. The second time was when A long distance boyfriend was meant to come visit me and I got scared. I wanted to tell him not to come see me but I didn't. I seldom ever speak of him and that time because it causes me a lot of embarrassment. The third and last time I felt that particular scared feeling was the morning I drove to Jeff's house in late June of 2008. We had been dating for nearly two months and were taking a trip to Vegas. That feeling, however, melted away into comfort and I have never again experienced that uncomfortable scary feeling. I digress.

My teenage years were very painful and I spent most of it very depressed. I remember making lame attempts at suicide a few times. I call them lame now because I realize it was just a way for me to get attention. Of course I realize the absolute severity of taking your own life. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The point is that I was very unhappy. The following Spring my biological father was in a severe car accident and I thought he would die. I made several attempts to check on him and after a day or so I was being told nasty things by people who didn't know me and my mom and I were being blamed for the accident.
Today I consider myself lucky to know that I will probably never be in a position where I am seeking child support. The experience was extremely unpleasant. And though that money has slowly trickled in over the years I have only ever benefitted from it once or twice. In fact, for years I never even knew it was still coming every month. It caused a huge rift when I could have used it in college and certain family members said it was meant for my mother. Hmmm, wonder why it is called child support then? No matter. I put myself through college and will spend the next 9 years and 4 months paying it all back.
There are many things. Am not including in the story and this is usually the point where I get mad. I can feel those feelings of hurt and resentment trying to rise in me now. But that is in the past and my mom and I are making an honest effort to have a better relationship. Dwelling on all of that negative crap will do me no good.

Throughout the last 13 years or so I have come into contact with my biological father a couple times. All efforts have turned into dramatic messes. Thinking back on it I realize I was not ready at any of those times to know him. I think there was a lot of growing up that needed to happen (mostly on my side, some on his) before we could communicate effectively. I think a lot of that growing up was accomplished because of going to school, obtaining a college education, and being with Jeff. I give myself a lot of credit for trying to improve and be a better person, but a lot of it is because of Jeff. He brought a lit and a happiness into my life. So much so that I am a much more delightful person now than I have ever been. Long gone is the depressed teenager.

In recent months communication with my biological father has resumed and it has been a much more positive experience than it was any other time. This time I don't have random people from their shared past emailing me to tell me what a slut they believe my mother to have been at that time (she wasn't, and you aren't a decent human for saying those things to me). In fact, I have been very careful not to mention certain things to him. Rarely do I mention my mother, or our past conversations, or anything about paternity tests. He has since stopped referring to me as his "alleged" daughter. I still call him my "biological father". The word dad still seems foreign to me. Plus it denotes a much closer relationship than I have with mine.
Lately the communication has slowed. It used to be multiple emails a day and not there are whole days where I don't hear anything. In fact, he never replied to my last email, sent a few days ago. It disappoints me but I know that he is busy with a new job and with that has brought some excitement into his life and he probably doesn't have time to communicate with me as much. Things were going well and I was feeling encouraged to share more. That feeling has closed a bit but I know it could easily be reopened.
I won't be celebrating Fathers Day tomorrow. It is difficult to do something you have purposely not done in 20 years.

Perhaps by the time i am ready to celebrate it will be with my kids and Jeffrey. Or maybe sooner. I don't know. I guess tomorrow I will just think about the fact that I at least have a father.

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