I know some of you have been waiting with much anticipation, to find out what my big surprise is, promised in my last post. So without further ado, here it comes.....
I have found my father. He had been missing to me for approximately 45-50 years. My parents had a difficult marriage and an even harder divorce when I was but 6 years old. I always adored my father, as many little girls do. And when I was told I had to live with my mother when I would have much rather lived with my father it tore me apart. Then when my mother further unraveled after the divorce, becoming an even more unstable person I longed for my father even more. At first, after the divorce, he was still a part of our lives. But my mother could never keep her rent paid and we constantly would be moved from town to town in the middle of the night which made us a bit hard to keep up with. Visits became fewer and further apart. We did go to live with him, his new wife and 5 kids for a time but eventually, for reasons I did not understand, we eventually went back to my mom and to a life that just kept getting worse and worse. The final time I saw my father, we were back living in Ohio and he came into town for a day and took us to lunch. I sat thru the meal thinking if I could just be perfect and make my brother and sister also be, then he would want us and take us back with him to where ever he was living at the time. Of course, that did not happen. Then again, my mother moved us and would not let him know where we were. My dad said he called my grandmother for information but she refused to give it to him. So that ended our relationship at that time. Until just a few short weeks ago.
Now all those years did not pass without me wondering where he was or what he was doing. But before the electronic age, I would have had to hire a private investigator to have a prayer of finding him. I wasn't always in the position to afford that, nor was my mental state all that healthy to be able to risk rejection. So I just kept it at curiosity.
But once Google came along, I occasionally would put his name into the search engine. I ran across small items like his Ohio State wrestling record. But nothing really very helpful. I was starting to get a little older, wiser and happier with myself but still not enough to spend a whole lot of money to find him and still risk rejection. Or even finding out that he had already passed.
But about 6 weeks ago I was messing around with Facebook and put his name in just to see what would come up. Lots of people with his name but none with anything that made me sure it was him. So I pulled up Google and gave it one more college try. The 3rd listing in was a document and my computer warned me against opening it, not sure it was not virus free. Never being one to pay attention to threats, I opened it and there before my eyes was his resume'. I searched thru it trying to see if there was any concrete proof that it was my father. The birthday was close but not exactly what I remembered. His degrees were a tad bit different also. But there was way too much for it to not be him. And it included an email address!! So immediately, before I could lose my confidence, I sent him an email. It was a couple of days before I heard back but he was completely glad I had found him. And he said he had been looking for me for many years also. But with all those moves, me going to a married name, me not being exciting enough to make onto Google, I was impossible to find.
In his email he asked a ton of questions about my life up until that point. So I answered as well as I could, glossing over alot of the bad stuff that had happened in my life. I also told him all about my wonderful, gorgeous, talented kids and grandkids. But then I did not hear back from him for over 2 weeks. That broke my heart. I kept thinking something I said upset him and made him not want to reconnect after all. Or that he had gotten suddenly ill and passed before we could get any further. So close and yet so far.
But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking not to give up. Until after my birthday. He had asked to be reminded exactly when my birthday was and I had. So if he had not answered by my birthday I figured it was all over and done. And I was right. First thing in my in box on my birthday was another email. He had been out of town and then had come home with a bad cold that had him taking to his bed for a few more days. He did still want to have me in his life after all.
We emailed back and forth a couple of times over the next week or so. And then I suggested that we meet up for a meal while I was in the Atlanta area the end of April. A friend and I were already going to be there to attend a fiber festival so why pass up the opportunity. We all agreed and set the date.
Now, the fiber festival was great. Lots of great yarn to feel, covet and even buy. Needles, patterns, notions, ect by the score. Classes by big name teachers that I would have loved to have taken. But somehow the highlight of this weekend just didn't end up being yarn related!!
We rendezvoused at a restaurant in Symrna, Georgia called Curry, Curry cause he remembered that I said I loved Indian food. But I can't honestly say I hardly even remember the meal. No, correct that. The spicy chicken coconut soup was to die for. But I walked in and had no trouble at all telling who he was. But I did also have to meet my half sister I did not know I had at all and my Dad's wife Claire, whom he has been married to the last 15 years. They both turned out to be very dear people that I will be proud and honored to have in my life now. We probably spent almost 2 hours there talking and catching up the best we could. He told me many things that I did not know or only partially remembered. I told him things that also validated many of his suspicions about my mother's mental state of mind for all those years.
The weather was threatening to be a big problem for our drive back to Tennessee, but we did still go on over to his and Claire's house to take one final look at the weather channel before heading out. He lives in a amazingly nice retirement village where they have their own house, larger than mine, but they do all the maintenance work for them along with providing a dining hall and other amenities. They can move to different quarters as health demands for as long as they shall live. It seems so perfect for them. I got to see his huge, and I do mean huge, collection of books. His lower level honestly looks just like a public library. Although many of the book titles would bore the average person!! But we really had to get on the road to avoid the severe weather that was brewing all over the tri-state area.
So now we can move this relationship along to another level. Hopefully Ken and I can go down there soon and then hopefully both kids can make it out to also meet their grandfather. I know he is already proud of them just from what I have told him. And he is so very much like Daniel that I know they will click like 2 peas in a pod.
But for now, here is a picture of him, Claire and I on their back deck. I think I look old!! I think he looks to young to be my dad!!