Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finding things I didn't know were lost...

Sorting through stuff that has spent the last few years in storage & came across an envelope from 2005. I don't know why I noticed the postmark but paid no attention to the return address before opening it. It kind of took my breathe when the family tree full of hand written entries, some of which I can't read, & photos from mom's bio father fell out.

I don't even remember receiving this stuff, but I do recall the circumstances surrounding it. My mother had been in the hospital & they weren't sure what was wrong with her. She wasn't getting any better, and they had looked for everything that we knew was part of her family history. However, because Mom was adopted by her maternal grandparents & we had not had contact with her bio father for years, we really only had one side's information. So, I called her bio father to get his medical history. Although it upset her to find this out, I am glad that I did so. Getting that medical history led to the diagnosis of her medical conditions and she has been better able to manage her health ever since.

However, doing so opened a door that I had closed years before.

I remember meeting him when I was around 3. I'm not sure why Mom chose to not have a relationship after that, as I've never asked. Perhaps she did try & he flaked out, as was his habit. But, for years we received sporadic birthday or Christmas cards.

As a child, I didn't mind getting cards from him. I knew who he was, but I also had a good relationship with my Gramma & Grampa. I thought getting to know him would be interesting, because it would give me a fuller picture of where we came from & such. However, he expected to be instantly taken in as "grandpa" & for me to treat him, a stranger, as such. I expressed quite clearly that I was not going to do that several times but my boundaries were ignored. The relationship that I had with him was my choice & I didn't appreciate his attempts to force me into how he wished for it to be defined. So, when I was around 8, I told him that I didn't wish to hear from him anymore. After that, I think I received a couple cards "from him" (really sent by his girlfriend, so I'm not even sure if he was aware they were sent).

Needless to say, it was a rather awkward conversation when I had to call him and tell him that I tracked him down through the internet & wanted to know about all his medical issues so that, hopefully, his daughter would not die. Thankfully, he provided the information we needed, but he also told me that he had searched for me online & wanted a relationship, etc.

Even though a relationship wasn't something that I needed, I did allow cautious contact with him. He sent me this packet & I took his calls on the few occasions he reached out. He died a few years later.

Sitting here looking at these photos I'm struck by how much my mother looks like him. Also, I'm flooded by thoughts of how this is why, as much as some people would like me to, I can't say definitively that I will never allow my girls to have contact with their bio family.

They may have questions. The may need information. They may just be curious. They may never care to know. What matters is that it is their lives, their family, and their choice. I will support them & try to help them safely navigate whatever choice they make...but it is their choice to make.

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