As I write this, I am looking out a patio door onto the Granby river in a little town called Grand Forks in the Boundary Country region of B.C. The sun is shining brilliantly after a rainfall and I can hear a myriad of unfamiliar bird calls. I am so excited to be here. “Am I on vacation?” you may ask. Nope… not quite. I am on a mission. A mission to face a fear that is so deeply ingrained in my body that it is as familiar to me as the feeling of my own heart beating in my chest.
I am here to meet my real father. Yes, for the first time. Yes, I am 35 years old. Yes, it is about time.
I will not reflect on how it came to be that I do not know my real father at this stage of my life here on my blog as this would expose the personal lives of others. How we got here is not really so important as what we do now, this instant.
I will, however, reflect on what kind of hurdle this has been for me. I have struggled with feeling ‘abandoned’, ‘unwanted’ and ‘never good enough’ for as long as I can remember. It did not matter whether these feelings were in my present state of mind. They were intrinsic, ever-present obstacles that I would dance around daily or appease by acting out for attention. They were subtle…but even the smallest mosquito can cause quite a ruckus when it is trapped in the room with you.
There are some amazing substitutes for fathers and mine were my grandfather and then later on, my step-father. Love was given, tears were wiped. I was not left wanting for a male presence as I grew up. But there it still was, buzzing in the back of my mind despite my protests of “Why should I want to know my real father? What do I need him for? What will it change?”.
My sister, truly the boldest of we two, made the big leap of contacting our father first. She was hunting down some family history. I thank my lucky stars above that I had done some recent personal ‘work’ by way of starting my own business, as this placed my mind in exactly the right state to hear her tell me “He is really lovely and he REALLY wants to talk to you!”.
I also need to thank Mark Zuckerberg for the gift of Facebook at this point because it is SO much easier to type a quick message than it is to dial a number. So I wrote a quick note to my father…asking for patience. It was in me to call, I just needed a few more days.
And then I found it! The spark, the inertia, the drive to not only call but really have a wonderful conversation. To hear his voice, finally solid after being such a mystery. To hear his tellings of our family history, the artistic talent, the fact that he himself never knew his own father. But most of all, to hear that when I was 5 months old, he tried to see me but came up against resistance in the form of family meaning well.
That conversation started the pull that I felt toward him. I needed to meet him and I would feel even more incomplete and frustrated every day that passed without it happening. He sent me a photo that he had taken of himself and my mother before their marriage. Gazing at these two faces together was jarring. There was love there. This existed. I am stronger because of this.
So when I looked at my calendar for the next few months, I was so dismayed. This was important dammit! I will make it a priority! And so here we are…I am so nervous that I feel sick. What will he think of me? What will we talk about? The only thing that calms me is pacing across the tiny motel room and gazing at the engorged river. Just breathe. Just breathe…This is where you are meant to be right now. This is my mantra. On this day of faith. In search of love.
To be continued…