I have one of those memories where I can tell you what I was wearing on the third day of sixth grade. I was once told that I “can remember everything about absolutely nothing,” I took that as a compliment. But with remembering the good also comes with remembering the bad.
My dad left our family when I was just over two years old. I always wanted to visit him. But he lived eight hours away. We didn’t have very much money, so traveling was limited, and with no financial support it was impossible to fly. I remember when I didn’t get my way at times I would cry, “I want my Daddy.” Looking back, that must have really ticked off my mom.
As the years passed, the visits, the phone calls, and the letters became less frequent. I can remember well… I only had two visits with my father growing up. One was in first grade, the other was in sixth grade. One of the times I heard from my father was when I was ten years old. I got a birthday card from him. It had a tree on the front cover with little slots on the branches for ten dimes. I was thrilled to receive anything from him. The dimes didn’t matter.
It wasn’t for lack of trying to talk to my dad. But he had different partners throughout the years, and he moved. A lot. Each time he moved, he never told me. The last time I saw my father was in 1990. He was living in Southern California and lived with a nice lady. A few weeks after my visit, I called, and “Joyce” let me know that they were no longer together and he had moved on. Once again, no forwarding address, and no phone number.
So we went another several years without talking. I had no idea where he had gone. I still wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for one of my cousins who keeps in touch with both of us. In 2001, I tried again. I even sent my dad two plane tickets to come visit me when I was living in Texas. I tried to call him one day and the phone had been disconnected with no forwarding number.
I spent many years trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Why would a father not want to know his daughter? Why would someone abandon me over and over again. Recently, I tried to establish a connection again only to be blocked on Facebook and removed as his daughter. I don’t know why I thought this time would be different. Maybe because I’m now a parent, and I know it’s my job to create a secure and loving environment for my family regardless of what kind of a relationship I have with them.
I have nothing but unconditional love for my daughter. I have been involved in every step of the way because I’ve wanted to be involved. You know what, it’s not hard. It’s pure joy. My child will never wonder the things about me or about my husband that I have wondered about my father. I am her parent and her provider. I have a responsibility to her, and I can’t imagine my life without her.
I’m writing this now because I just found out I have a half sister. My father says he’s been looking for her his entire life. My mother knew nothing about her, and I’m still trying to comprehend what this means to me. Once again, my father has written me off. I could tell you why. But it’s so absurd, I won’t waste anyone’s time. This time, he sent me an email letting me know I am no longer part of his life. I no longer have to search for him. He is done. His timing is perfect, because I just told him we were expecting our second child.
What does this mean? I’m not sure. But I’m taking responsibility for my life. I don’t need to be emotionally abused by someone whom I have a biological connection with, but no more. I need to do what is best for me and my family.
The strong woman I have become knows when something is extremely unhealthy. At the end of the day, I’ve realized that I need to try to let go of my desire to have a relationship with my father, because I never had one in the first place. But the ten-year-old in me will always want her Daddy.