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Fatherless No More

Meeting my father was my lifelong dream.

All my life I wanted to know who he was. Do I look like him? Do I have siblings?

I finally met him when I was 37 years old.

I grew up in a household of women with my mom her two sisters and my two cousins.

There was no father figure in the house. My two uncles came by from time to time.

I asked my mom about my father over and over. She gave a number of excuses. I soon stopped asking.

I hoped and dreamt to meet my father one day and wondered if I would have sisters and brothers.

girlgrandpa

As a teenager I learned that the last name I bear does not belong to my father, but to my mother’s husband. They were separated at the time of my birth.

I felt confused, but convicted to find out who I am.

My mother’s family was very fulfilling, yet I felt the vastness of my other self. It was like I was on half of the bed and the other half was empty.

In the late 90’s, I cornered my aunt to tell me who my father was. She did.

In 2002 my mother also confirmed my father’s identity and revealed I have an older sister.

This confirmation was very illuminating and began to make me feel whole.

It turned out I had met my father years before when I was about 26. My mother and I were at a picnic where she and this man in a cowboy hat got along well joking and laughing. My memories of this man in the distinctive cowboy hat were such that I nicknamed him Tex. Since that time I greeted him every time I saw him as Tex. My father later told me how good that made him feel.

Swans

My father told me he always kept update to date with my ins and outs and even kept in touch with my mother.

My mother had her reasons for not telling me about him as both my parents were married to other people when I was born.

Later that year my mother succumbed to cancer and I was alone.

My mother’s support of me was warm and cozy. Her presence had provided an invisible blanket of security I took for granted. When she died, I felt less secure and very alone.

Almost one year later my godmother told me my father wanted to see me. I was so involved with settling my mother’s affairs I had almost forgotten about him and had not thought about what to do about my knowledge of his identity.

My godmother shared insights to my father and his family that had me thinking: “What man wants to claim a 37 year old child?”

With a lot of thought, I agreed to meet with him after the one year marker of my mother’s passing.

I insisted we meet in a neutral space, so our meeting was at the vacant home of a friend.

I asked questions which he willfully answered. I was very firm in letting him know I would not tolerate him speaking against my mom because she was not here to defend herself. He was very respectful in his responses and I was satisfied with his answers. We decided to work on our relationship.

My father told me I had a sister, niece, cousins, uncles, aunts and a great aunt who was 101.

Later that year, I met my sister and niece and my father reintroduced me to friends and people we knew mutually, letting them know I was his daughter.

I felt a lot of people knew our story, but it was not theirs to tell. No one told me, and for that, I am grateful. My mother finally told me and that is the way it should be.

Having a father figure later in life has not been easy.  My father is in his eighties and very set in his ways. He has had no experience raising children and I am a grown woman raised by a group of women with certain values. There are even some class differences.

We have butt heads at times, however we also laugh a lot.

He is not my security blanket and he certainly does not replace my mother’s love. But, I am not as alone as I was before. I am not sure how he feels about me, whether he loves me or not, but we are family, and I feel that.