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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A memoir of my parental abandonment and my subsequent guilt and regret.

Submitted: January 23, 2015

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Submitted: January 23, 2015

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I’m writing this article as a 31 year old woman.  Single, no children, and mind numbing job.  That aside, this story actually begins shortly before my first birthday. 

 

I was 6 months old when my biological father left my life. At only 21 years old, he found his new life as “Dadda” too difficult. He left. Left me. Left my mother. Whether other issues were at fault, I don’t know.  All I’ve ever been told about that situation was that he couldn’t handle being in a family.  I have no recollection of him. How could I at 6 months old?  That’s where our relationship ended.

 

I was 8 months old when history repeated itself in an alternate form.  My mother now felt she was missing out on life.  At 22 years old, she now had a new man in her life and didn’t want to be burdened with raising a child.  Often I was left with my grandparents while she enjoyed her youth elsewhere.  Then came the day when an agreement was made.  My grandmother made an offer that couldn’t be refused. “Let the baby stay with me” my Nanny said.  Mother happily obliged as she had a new family in the making.  She with her new boyfriend were expecting a little bundle of joy.  A new little baby.  A new little family.  So, a paper was signed forfeiting all parental rights.

 

Years blissfully passed. I was happy.  My grandparents transformed into my parents. I now referred to them as Mom and Dad.  They were all I’d ever known and were my true parents in my heart and theirs.  Aunts became sisters.  Cousins became nieces/nephews.  All complicated by the fact that Nanny was now Mom and my biological Mom was now “Cathy”. 
Cathy’s new baby was always referred to as my brother and I loved him as such and her new boyfriend, now husband, was referred to as “Billy”. They were a separate but included part of my immediate family.  We would still see each other all the time. Family gatherings, Christmas’, birthdays. We would still exchange gifts as if we were immediate family. Separate but included. Weekends spent with “new family” were few and sometimes awkward.  Trying to explain the situation to outside sources would be difficult and sometimes bring on stress related headaches.  Otherwise, life seemed normal. 

 

I was 15 years old, when things got more complicated. My biological father had contacted Cathy. Not directly of course, but through a friend.  He wanted to speak to me on the phone.  My 16th birthday was approaching and he’d wanted to reconnect.  But, he wanted my permission first.  So, it was left in my hands.  Do I speak to the man I never knew?  What would we say?  Do I so easily forgive a man for leaving me behind 15 years ago?  Does he want forgiveness? Why now?My immediate reaction was NO. No, I don’t want to speak to that man.  No, he doesn’t get to just walk back into my life.  I gave my answer.  He was not allowed to call me.  I knew the real reason I didn’t want to talk to him was because I felt awkward.  I was a teenager.  Every fibre of my being was awkward and trying to have a phone conversation with a complete stranger who shared my DNA would just intensify that.  I was scared. 

 

That was that.  No phone call. No contact.

 

Less than a year later while being forced to spend quality time with bio-mom and new family, I got a little surprise.  She casually brought me 4 pictures to look over.  The first 3 were my brother.  No, not Cathy and Billy’s son.  My biological father, Peter, had a new family.  A new wife and a 3 year old son.  A moment that was meant to admire the adorable little boy that was a part of me was spent realizing that both biological parents had abandoned me to start their “real” families.I put on my best fake smile and continued to glaze over the remaining pictures.  Then came the last picture. The cherry on the cake. My eyes were looking back at me.  It was Peter.  I was always a little curious about what he looked like. But the shock I felt when I saw his face floored me more than I wanted.  Same eyes, nose, chin, and same terribly bushy eyebrows that unfortunately connect in the middle.  This was the most connection I’d had to him in over 15 years.  A picture of a man in a car wearing my face. After my fleeting moment of self-pity I threw the pictures in a box at home.  Hidden away so I wouldn’t have any more feelings of regret after saying no to that phone call.  Looking at those pictures made me feel sympathy for this man that rejected me and now I’ve rejected and I didn’t like that feeling.  Shouldn’t he be the one having mixed feelings?  Maybe he is.

 

More years passed and technology grew.  As internet became more popular. Phone gave way to email. Somehow my email address got into the hands of Peter's now ex-wife. She sent me a very lengthy email about their son and how he’d like to meet me.  This time I actually wrote back.  I even gave a few personal details about myself that I kept otherwise guarded.  I appreciated his desire to meet his only sister. I considered the possibility of letting this boy into my life.  He’d done nothing wrong.  He was an innocent. I’d even allowed myself to day dream of what it would be like to spend the day with him.  Maybe see a movie, get something to eat.  Then my fear snuck up on me again. My feeling of inadequacies. I’ve always felt I’d suffered a little from Atelophobia. Those feelings became too strong.  I’d rather not meet him than meet and have him not like who I was. The emails eventually teetered off which was completely my fault.  I was doing the rejecting once again.

 

Then the invention of Facebook.  A great time killer and a new way for old acquaintances to reconnect and that’s exactly what happened. When I was 27 years old I’d received a private message from my biological father.  He’d sent me a rather nice message about wanting to meet me, owning up to his mistakes, and being sorry for the past.  Old feelings took hold and I immediately went on the defensive. How dare he message me? How dare he invade my personal fb turf? I then clicked on his page to try and get a little more information about this man who was crossing my line.  I found a man that was happy, not exactly low on cash, and with 2 healthy children.  Yes, he had another child with another woman.  Three babies by three different women.  I now had 3 brothers.  Three used to be my lucky number.  I could feel blood rushing to my face. I’m still uncertain if it was due to anger, fear, or shame.  I deleted the message.

 

Not 2 weeks past when Peter's son added me as a friend on Facebook.  Out of guilt and curiosity I accepted the friend request.  He’s been on my friend list for 3 years now and we’ve never contacted each other directly.  Not once.I can only assume that he added me for the same reasons I accepted the request.

That concludes the contact, so far, that I’ve had with them.  My relationship with my biological mother is pretty much what a mother-daughter relationship would be under our circumstances.  We see each other everyday since my father passed away and my mother is now very ill and dying herself. She cares for "our mother" during the day and I take her leave during the evenings. 

Why I don’t feel the same animosity towards her as my paternal side? I can only assume is because I had no choice.  It was never an issue.  She may have given me up but I saw her on a constant basis.  I grew up seeing her face.

 

While typing all of this history I’ve come to realize that I’m just as at fault as the people that bore me. They may have started this round robin of rejection but I’m the one continuing it. Am I wrong for not letting go of the past?  My life feels complete without having to know these people.  Is their life incomplete without me?  Is that my problem to fix?

 


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