You Still With Me?
This has been a LOT, hasn’t it? Trust me….I know!
Just in case you might not remember, this whole thing began because I decided to purchase a 23andMe DNA kit……..but after sending it back in and while I was waiting on my results, I realized I didn’t have to wait…..because a huge portion of what I was hoping to find was sitting there inside Shawn’s DNA on Ancestry. (Which, btw, I had also purchased one of those and sent them both back in at the same time.)
And remember…..Shawn had given me his login information and a 3rd cousin on my bio mother’s side was helping me sift through all the confusing results. Truth is, she’s the one that figured everything out for me – I didn’t have anything to do with it more than answering her questions.
When Brenda gave me the information about my bio father, I felt overwhelmed, excited, nervous, and honestly…..like I was somehow being disloyal to my dad. It bothered me SO much but I kept reminding myself that my dad (both my parents actually) always understood my curiosity and my dad was the one that went to Lutheran Social Services when I was about 15 to get the “non-identifying information” they were legally able to give.
A little background about my dad…….he was the gentlest and kindest man I ever knew and I loved him with my whole heart. And so did everyone else. He was respected, admired for so many things and loved. He had a sarcastic sense of humor and so much wit about him…..and the truth is that he could tell you off or put you in your place without you getting offended and you’d walk away thanking him. Any of the times I can remember being held, it was by my dad.
Just recently as I’ve worked through some of this, it was really hard for me. I looked up to my dad, worshipped the ground he walked on….and although he was never ugly to me, he didn’t ever stop my mom from being ugly. For the longest time I chose to believe he just didn’t know what was happening, but how could he not? Either way…….he was my dad and I loved him endlessly.
My mom was never affectionate. Not with us kids, anyway. I never remember climbing up into her lap and being held. I never remember any “I love you’s”. I never heard “I’m proud of you” or anything like that. For the longest time I thought it was just me……but my older brother doesn’t remember those things either.
All of this is gonna matter here soon……stick with me.
When Brenda gave me the information on my bio father, she also told me that she couldn’t find him on Facebook but she did find a bio half sister and maybe I could reach out to her first. THAT made me crazy nervous! I can remember back when I was young and my dad talking to me about the possibility of finding my bio mother….he made sure I understood a few really important things: first, she may not want to be found and second….she went on to make a life for herself and that she may not have ever told anyone and I could literally show up and blow up her whole world. He always told me that if I ever did find her, I needed to be gentle and respectful in my approach to her. (And I was…….)
But I wasn’t about to call a bio parent….I was about to call a bio sister and for some reason, that seemed way more scary. For both of us.
I ended up choosing to send a Facebook message, she replied pretty quickly and we ended up on the phone. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I still had the mobile boutique and I probably shouldn’t have been doing this while I was at the Trenton Farmer’s Market with the trailer – working. But I did. Because I had been waiting 59 years for this and I wasn’t gonna wait another moment! We talked on the phone for a little bit and she was VERY kind to me and actually already knew that I existed! She offered to call my bio father, make sure he knew my bio mother and that I had the right person and ask if he wanted to speak to me.
He remembered and we spent most of that day and evening on the phone. HOURS. And I honestly couldn’t even tell you what was said.
But man, I was ready to jump in with both feet.
It was SO different for me. This man – who doesn’t know me at all but helped create me – was immediately telling me he loved me. I NEVER heard that! And that alone was enough for me to bare my soul and give my heart away. And over the next 10 months I did just that.
He gave me bio history – told me about my ancestors, gave me nationality information, medical information and told me stories about his younger life, his adult life and shared pictures with me. As he got to know me via very long phone conversations, he would always tell me how proud he was of me, how he must’ve done something right because I turned out to be a good human…..and he never ever ended a phone conversation without telling me he loved me.
He told me his side of the story around my bio mother getting pregnant and after I was born…..which was MUCH different than her side of the story and I’m sure the truth is somewhere in between.
I told him everything about me. Every single thing good and every single thing bad. I told him about my mom, our awful relationship and I told him about the ended relationship with my bio mother. I didn’t leave anything out. I wanted to know this man and I wanted him to know me. And I discovered so much about myself in these phone calls…..personality traits that I had no idea where they came from (going back to that nature vs nurture thing) but I was finally getting answers.
I remember a phone call with someone that’s super important in my life and has known me since I was super young and as I told her all of this, the first thing she responded with was “BE CAREFUL”. And I remember thinking to myself “that’s just Denise being protective”.
As I spent 10 months getting to know my bio father through phone conversations and Facebook (it really IS a handy little thing!), I also gained 2 half bio sisters and all their family and 2 bio nieces!
Random (but probably not as random as I think after everything is said and done) – my bio father goes by a fake name on Facebook. A surname from his ancestors and a fake first name. He told me that it was because he was a writer and that most writers have pen names…….and I had no reason to not believe him or think it was strange.
I’ve always known that I can be a little too naive. I also know that when I want something so badly – for so many years (in this case it was knowing who and where I came from) – I tend to jump in without giving it any thought and literally bare my soul. I think it must go back to that wanting desperately to fit in somewhere and be loved. And I did JUST that with him.
And although life has tried to teach me this lesson over and over – why giving all of me might not be the best idea – this time the lesson threw me for a loop, crushed my spirit and made me incredibly sad. Before the relationship really ever stood a chance, before I ever met him in person, it ended. I ended it.
Because my bio father is a predator.
Stay tuned for the last of this story when Part 5 is published!