Do you think of me?
An open letter...
I have written this letter numerous times in the past 15-20 years. I either throw it away, tear it up, or just move on to something different. But there is always something that brings me back to writing this letter to you. As I sit in my office basement, late at night while my family sleeps, I find myself thinking to myself, what if. That’s it, what if?
What if I could say something to you right now? What would it be? What if you were a part of my life, more than just genetics? What if you walked me down the aisle at my wedding to my best friend? What if my beautiful children knew who you were? What if I called you dad?
I want to start off my saying I am not sure what it is I want out of writing this letter. Trust me at the age of 34, you would think I would have this part of my life figured out and I wouldn’t let it get to me. But here I sit. I am not asking for anything from you, because without you, well I wouldn’t exist, simply put. I don’t know if it is closure that I need to just get some things off my chest or to just get them down on paper and send them your way and let the universe decide. Hell, you might not even get this letter and then I will be in the same place. So take it for whatever you wish. I just ask that you respect my feelings and thoughts on this whole situation, or if I may my daddy issues. Respect them enough to read the following and just sit with them for a few days, and put yourself in my shoes.
You are my own flesh and blood, yet you seem to only exist in my memory and weird cricked second toe. You are my biological father. As a child I grew up in a small town, the town you met my mother. A tan, city boy from California, who stole her heart. Then came me, with you no where to be found. You know the story, I don’t have to reiterate it to you. But I am not sure of the real story behind why you weren’t around. Frankly, because I didn’t know you even existed. Rod came into my life, he raised me, called me his daughter and the rest is history. Until your letter came. I was home alone, and walked up the gravel driveway to get the mail, at the age of 15, I knew I wasn’t going to get any mail, but whatever. Then there it was, a crisp white envelop mailed to me! I ran home, and opened my letter, 7 notebook papers wielded nice cursive handwriting. I went to my room to read this mischievous letter that was addressed directly to me.
It was from a stranger, it was from you. A letter stating that you were my biological father and that you lived in Portland, OR. That you were in the military, and that you had a wife, and well much more stuff filled those pages, but you, a perfect stranger, was claiming to be my Dad. Now, please try and think about what went through a 15 year old small town girls head after reading this letter. Mind you, back in the day we had no cell phones, so I couldn’t just call my mother up and ask her “WTF…this stranger is claiming to be my dad?” So I had to sit on this letter for the remainder of the day.
Now, I feel that I have to give you a little back story on where I really sit my my relationship with my mom, I know that you knew her well enough to have created me as a human. But she has her issues, like we all do. But needless to say, we didn’t get along, and well, still don’t. She came home, and I pounced on her with this letter. She didn’t really react much, she just said I knew this day would come, but I didn’t think it would be him reaching out. She told me everything I guess, how you two met, how much love you had for each other, how your parent’s didn’t like her, and how you left for the Air Force, and signed your rights over. I’m sure that I missed a lot, but overall that is what I have lived with most of my life.
This is where things get a little grey, my mother always told me that day, that you never wanted to reach out, or meet me or anything. She says that you contacted her about some adoption papers that you needed for retirement, she told me that’s all you wanted. You never asked about me or anything, but got our address. Fast forward a bit, I hear from you that my mother said during this conversation that I was asking about you, and that I wanted to meet you, so that is what sparked your letter to me. My mom is known to be a bit of an exaggerator and I hardly knew you. So I have never known what to believe. But again, age of 15, this kind of messes you up a bit. Now, in your letter it says that you would love to meet me and that you wanted me to come and visit. So let’s talk about that a bit. Remember Custer, the small town, where everyone knew everyone. I was in high school and hated every second of it. I wasn’t the most popular, and didn’t have any friends. My parents lived paycheck to paycheck, we had shitty hand me down clothes, cars as old as my great grandmother, and tuna on toast kind of dinners. Please don’t get me wrong I know now that my parents did their best to raise me and my sisters, but it was hell for sure. So when this stranger writes you a fancy written letter stating that he lived in a big city miles and miles away from your current situation, I jumped at the chance to leave. Probably more so to just run away, then to meet you at that time. You were my knight in shining armor. I never looked back, and that decision burned some bridges and heart many hearts, including mine.
My dad the man that stepped up at a very young age, loved my mother despite her having a baby out of wedlock. (Remember, the 80’s in a small town). He loved me as his own, married my mom, couldn’t even have a drink at his wedding, and joined the Marines. He took care of us, he took care of me. I always knew I was different than my family in some way, but I never thought that it would be because I have a different dad. He won’t say it, but I broke his heart that day I happily got on the plane to visit you. Maybe he was scared that you were really my knight in shining armor and I would never come back to him. Honestly, I don’t know what he thinks about that day, all I know is the heartbreak in his eyes as I stepped on that plane.
But this letter isn’t about my daddy issues with him. I remember being ecstatic from the day I spoke with on the phone to the day I left Rapid City for Portland, OR. Then I stepped off the plane, I caught myself backing up as I started to realize I had no idea what I was doing. More evident was I had no idea WHO I was looking for! I started to regret my decision, wishing for my dad to just come pick me up. Then this little girl came running up to me, and said “Hi, sister!” Then you and your wife walked up behind her, and well that was it. My knight in shining armor had arrived.
Why am I reliving every detail and telling you all of this? Well, remember when I said I was only 15 years old. I didn’t have the mental capacity or was in the best place in my life to fully understand what I was doing or had my own thoughts about the world and the people in it. It has taken me years to work through the shit I went through in my teenage years and to heal from the damage my parents have caused me in my life. I never stopped thinking of you as my knight in shining armor. I even moved across the country to live with you and your family. I was running from something, but I was telling myself I was running towards something, you. But in reality I was running, I was running from my family, I was running from me. I wanted to be a better version of my family and make something of myself, and at the time I thought moving to Portland with you would be my answer. But that was not for me. Your life wasn’t mine. I didn’t fit in with your family.
I remember having a conversation with your wife while you were at work, and she thought that I was unhappy, and that I needed to do something about it. I told her, I didn’t know how to talk to you. That was the truth, I was 18 at the time when I lived with you, I had questions, all of the questions. But I wasn’t mature enough to ask you, I didn’t want to mess up your status quo by asking you why you left me.
Then Colorado happened. You took the time to meet my future in laws and Nick for a beautiful hike up Mt. Princeton. You met me in my element…I was so happy, but again I was young and didn’t know how to communicate with you. I was a little older from the last time we saw each other or spoke to each other. I want to be very clear, that I don’t remember much of what happened on this trip. All I know if that this was the last time I spoke with you or saw you. I have wondered all these years what I did to make you run away….again. A lot has happened since then, and my memories are a little blurry. So I apologize for anything that I said, did, or didn’t do to offend you or hurt you in anyway.
Aside from all of that I am in my mid thirties, I have been married for almost 10 fantastic years, I have 2 beautiful children, and I have a damn successful job. As I am sure you know, marriage, careers, and children change your perspective on life and make you think about situations very differently.
Now that I have children of my own, a career, and a husband I will say that thinking of you happens almost on a weekly basis if not more. A lot has happened in my 30 plus years of life, but for some reason I can move on from most of those things, but I can’t seem to move on from you. I can’t move on from the one question I always ask, “Do you ever think of me?”. Did you think about me roughly 9 months after you left Custer when you joined the military? Did you think of me over the years? Wonder what your child was like? Did you ever wonder if I looked like you? Did you ever question yourself on leaving? Or did I never cross you mind? Maybe you never thought about me. Maybe you never cared if I was ok or would amount to anything in my life. I wonder what you thought when your daughter was born? Did you for a split second think, “I have another child out there, I wonder if they are ok.” Or “I missed this experience with my child, I’m bummed about that.”
Now I don’t know anything about your life over the past 10 or so years. I don’t know if your daughter is married or if you have grandkids. I will tell you that on my wedding day 9 years ago I struggled. I struggled because me and my dad weren’t in a good place. I won’t bore you with the details, but I questioned walking my own ass down the aisle. But standing in the back of the church getting ready to marry my best friend, the one thing that popped into my head before I walked down the aisle was you. I wondered if you would be sad that you weren’t there, that you weren’t invited, that you signed away the rights to hold this title in my life. I probably sound like a spoiled little brat, when there are many woman and girls out there that don’t have any father in their lives and I’m over here dealing with two father figures in my situation. One who adopted me and raised me the best way he knew how, and one…well who gave me life.
I don’t expect you to answer any of these questions, frankly I don’t expect anything from you. I just want you to know that I am a very imperfect person. I know that I made some mistakes in this relationship and might have said things that were hurtful to you. I was young and had lots of feelings and emotions around the whole…you…situation. I take full ownership of my actions and sincerely apologize for any negative energy I brought into you and your families lives. That was never my intention. I have grown into my own skin and have realized that I wasn’t sure at the time what I needed or wanted from my relationship with you. I felt that I wasn’t responsible for being the adult and having those hard conversations. I expected that to come from you, and I’m sorry that I didn’t communicate that with you.
I want to leave you with a few parting words. I want to stress to you that I am not asking for anything from you. You don’t have to write me back or reach out to me. If you feel the need to do any of those things, that is on you. I do ask that you think about this situation from my perspective and put yourself in my shoes. Please read this with grace in your heart and kindness in your thoughts. I might not have been the best version of myself in all our interactions, but I was a teenage girl that found out her parents had been lying to her about having a biological dad. And that man was living life on the greener side of the pasture. I was a girl trying to not only navigate through life, but navigate emotions of a biological father. That was not easy for me, I ask that your respect that hardship.
I want to end this letter with a Thank You. I am a very lucky woman. I might struggle with thinking of you, but with out you I wouldn’t be the woman I am today…I wouldn’t be alive. So for that I thank you. You need to know that I am doing well in my life. I have worked hard for the amazing things I have in my world. I hope that your family is doing well and is finding joy and peace in this world. I wish you a great life, with or without me in it.