Saturday, December 17, 2005

Limiting Unlimited Limitations

This December marks the twelfth year since we were given the opportunity to build a friendship based on the mere fact that you are my biological father and I, your son. Until that time, I had been made to live with the thought that you had moved on and into another family and that you didn't want me in your life. As a child, I didn't quite understand the reasoning behind someone feeling that way, simply because I was never given a chance to be known. And as I write this, I feel much the same way as I did back then. Over the course of the past eleven years, I've never really had the chance to show you the kind of caring, loving, intelligent, and humorous person that I am. I've haven't been able to show you the father and husband I have grown to be, or how wonderful my wife and children truly are. I haven't been able to show you the dreamer and artist that I have chosen to become. I haven't been allowed to share with you my interests, my dislikes, or my temperaments. I haven't had access to or been able to share with you a medical history or a family tree. I haven't been able to share with you my triumphs and my losses, nor have I been able to share with you my childhood, and until now, my feelings.
I have come to know of you through the amazing woman you married. She opened wide her arms and accepted me as if I were one of her own children, and in doing so made me feel as if I were a small part of your life, and for that I will forever be grateful. She listened to me and considered my feelings when I began to doubt the nature of our fledgling friendship. She offered a shoulder or a laugh or a few kind words in times when I had lost all hope, and for that I am truly thankful.
While I would like to say that I never expected anything other than said friendship, I've come to realize that I had, in fact, done just that. I expected that you too might want a friendship with me. I expected that you would be as eager to touch base with me as I once was with you. I expected that you would respond when I wrote a quick note enclosed with my children's school pictures, or send a birthday card just to let me know I was in your thoughts. I expected that you would make time in your weekend for a five-minute phone call if for nothing more than to say hello. And, among other things, I expected that you would want to get to know my wife and children as I have come to do so with your spouse, but unfortunately not with your stepson. I now know I was wrong for doing these things. I've placed undo stress on myself as well as the lives of my family. I've placed guilt, and doubt, and blame on myself for wanting to contact you so many years ago. And I've grown remorseful over the fact that the likelihood of us becoming friends seems distant at best.
It's anyone's guess as to why I did these things. Maybe it was my way of trying to fit in with other families. Maybe it was my way of understanding and living with my own emptiness. Maybe it was my refusal of half-truths. And maybe, just maybe, it was my way of holding on to something I hoped would one day come back: something I have now come to understand as never having possessed.
Although the facts surrounding the marriage between you and my mother continue to elude me, I have maintained out of respect for your wishes not to inquire about the circumstances surrounding your divorce. At times, this had become a difficult task, to say the least. As your child, I believed I was entitled to know the events that led to my broken home. I felt that I should be given the freedom to ask without being met by opposition, and that my wanting to collect this information would not only be understandable, it would be accepted. After all, it was the marriage that failed you, not me. I was an infant. I was the one who was failed. My wanting to learn about my past was never a means of closure, rather understanding. I desperately wanted to understand why, as a child, I never had the opportunity to befriend you, and why you never appeared to want to learn about me. I wanted to know where you were and how you were doing. I wanted to know if I would ever hear your voice or if I would ever see you again, and if I did, would I recognize you. But most importantly, I wanted to feel like everyone else. I wanted a father, even if in theory, to call my own.
I've heard so many terrible things about you throughout my life; things that I was certain couldn't be true; things that I was certain wouldn't have happened the way I was told they had; things that I was certain I could have proven wrong, only if given the chance. Things that, within a child's imagination, is incomprehensible. It's not that I put you on a proverbial pedestal or made a habit of sticking up for you in situations that I had no knowledge of. How could I? After all I was just a kid, right? Wrong. I simply wanted to find out for myself if there was any merit to the things I was being told, and from that arose the need to defend.
As I ventured into adulthood, my captured feelings hadn't subsided. In fact, as I began my own family, the need to learn about my history became a priority. I wanted to have answers, not only for myself, but also for my children when they asked me who my biological father was. I wanted to have history I could pass on to them, and they to their children. I wanted us all to have some resemblance of life, not an unfilled void which I am incapable of filling.
You say to me that "(I) have a history with the people who raised (me) and (I am) blessed with a good wife and two lovely children. That should be most important to (me), as I'm sure it is." You are correct. My wife and children are my main priority, as am I myself, a main priority in my life. And like myself, they too have questions about my past. They know of you through pictures I have gathered over the years, and from conversations we, as a family, have held in times of peaking curiosity. It is a shame I have nothing more to say to them than I don't remember and I don't know, while continuing to keep from them the years of fodder that has plagued me the majority of my life. However, I am aware of the damage doing so can do, and for me that is not an option. But at some point they are going to be old enough to understand that there are gaps in my answers, and while that is not your responsibility, I will no longer be able to hide behind I don't remember and I don't know. All I will have are a few quick sentences put together under the guise of my understanding of where you stand.
You went on to state: "These are people who depend on (me) and who should be there for (me)," and that "(You) don't see (yourself) being able to add to that." That puzzles me. Are you comfortable giving up on something before it has truly begun? True, we have little in common. True, we have had limited conversations. What you don't know, based on the following statement, is how alike we truly are: "I have always been a very private person and that certainly is not going to change. I spend a great deal of time alone and I don't see that changing either. I am very comfortable in this life style." I'm uncertain as to whether there is any purpose in elaborating on this subject, as my take on what you have shared with me is rather concrete.
As I look back on my life, I realize a great deal of time has been lost amidst lies and accusations dealt by my mother, with an equal amount of time having been spent on avoiding, accepting, and defending certain aspects of your failed marriage. I have come to understand that there is truth in silence, and that silence itself is sonorous, if not deafening. I have to come to understand that the need to contact you all those years ago was greater in expectation than in need, and I have come to understand that it is unnecessary for me to understand that which I am unable to learn. Likewise, I have found that there is redemption in the choices I have made, and that my past has not been wasted upon wishful thinking. Instead, the lessons I have learned from this experience have made me a better father for my two remarkable children.
Am I disappointed by your response? I was initially taken aback, yes , but over the course of the past few weeks I have come to realize that no matter how unfortunate the circumstances may be, there is a certain amount of closure that has come of this, and with that closure, I have finally found some calm in the storm that is my life. Am I disappointed by the outcome of the past decade? I can say with confidence that I am not. Am I disappointed that our friendship will never reach farther than it has? No. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that it is those events that mold and shape the way we think and become better people. For that, I must thank you.
I don't know how we both fit into one another's future. I' like to believe at some point our paths will cross again and that we will be at peace with ourselves enough to allow one another into our respective lives. I' like to think that as adults we can respect each other for who we truly are by setting our differences aside, and understand that while we appear to be two entirely different people, we are derived from the same genetic make-up, fact that neither of us can avoid. Until that time, when I look to the east, I will simply smile knowing that there is now a piece of happiness in my heart and some semblance of peace in my mind.

2 Comments:

Anonymous D`Anerah said...

beautifully said.

2:47 AM  
Blogger [sic] said...

Thank you.

9:43 AM  

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