Saturday, October 30, 2010

just an honest post, like it or not

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would be honest about my feelings surrounding finding my father. So, here goes! I don't know what it is about me right now. I think it's the let down of finishing up last weekends trip to Savannah. I just have felt kind of BLAH all day. You know that feeling? You're kind of mopey and sad but not quite sure why. One of those days where you know you should dig down deep to figure out what's going on but you just don't have the energy or courage to do it. Well, here it is.

On the surface, I have no reason to feel this way. I had the time of my life last weekend. Fostering relationships and being a tourist in a beautiful city (my new favorite actually). I have a wonderful trip to see the rest of my family planned for February to Maine. I had a long heartwarming talk with both my moms yesterday. I have a great husband and kids. I had fun today hanging out with Debbie and my nephew Andrew. But there it still lies.... this- something.

I thought calling my sister would help. It did temporarily. I called Teisha and we had our typical fun conversations that I enjoy- and I did enjoy it! As soon as I hung up... blah. Then Andrew came with Debbie- fun, fun , fun! Then they left and again.. blah. Now I'm typing this knowing that it will help, it always does.

Today is my Dad's birthday. My dad Brent. Its the first birthday I've been able to call him and say happy birthday. He is 61 years old. All day I've been pushing back these feelings I've had because as happy as I am to be able to say happy birthday to my father it has not got past me that I've missed a lot of years. Missed those years because of my own fears and insecurities! So, my Blah-ness today is directly related to being genuinely PISSED at my own self.

So there it is. Regret, not blahness. Plain old ugly regret. I'm learning of late that its not good to keep things inside, secret, hidden- you choose the word to insert. I know logically that it does me NO good to think about what could have been but I can't help it today. And you know what? I'm going to allow myself to feel sorry for myself for tonight and hopefully when I sit down to type again I'll be back to my old self.

I wasn't going to post this one. Its a post that hurts me to my core to even write. I hope if anyone is reading this and is holding back on something out of fear that they won't!

Chalk this blog post up to me living up to my promise to myself to be honest, because this one was hard to type.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My family Tree

My family tree is not just a tree
but a large grove with many colors
With mothers, fathers, and sisters galore
I have an abundance of joy overflowing

I thank my birthmother for the life long gift she gave
of unselfish and true love
my parents who gave me a home and foundations for life
and the father who holds my heart now

An only child no more, a life long dreamed fullfilled
My sisters and I have so many years in front of us
a brother who shares the joy of adoption
My husbands and sons whom I devote my life to

One child loved by many, who is more fortunate than I?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Georgia on my mind

We have returned from our trip to Georgia. My long anticipated weekend has passed. I fell in love with so much of the small amount of Georgia that I saw. I loved the beautiful city of Savannah with its historic buildings full of wrought iron, brick and cobblestones. The river front area with bars, restaurants and shops. The trolley's and riverboats waiting to take visitors on a tour of this gorgeous city. I enjoyed walking into little establishments, buying my drink and walking about with my family.

We were blessed with nice weather most of the days of our trip. The sun was shining and warm as it reached into the mid 80 degrees! It felt so good to sit in the sun and soak up the warmth! At night when the weather was cool we sat in the yard around a fire. I got to meet me Aunt Erdine who is my Dad's oldest sister, along with her husband and son. We drank some, had some laughs and suprised my father with my sister Teisha.

See, my Dad knew I was coming obviously, and he knew my sister Heidi would be there. We kept Teisha coming as a secret and an early birthday present to him. It would be the first time he would have all of his daughters together in one place. We did manage to suprise him which was fantastic! I think he may have even shed a tear (maybe it was the fire, lol) We were able to take the first of what I hope will be many family pictures together. Another first to check off my list.

We spent Saturday visiting and touring Savannah. Tony and my sisters and I walked down river street having a blast. I couldn't ask for a better tour guide than my Dad. He is fun and has a great sense of humor. I got to know Diana more over those days and I truly enjoy her company. She is a loving woman as sweet as can be!

Tony, Teisha and I went back to tour Savannah after Heidi had to leave. We went to eat at Paula Deen's restaurant Lady & Sons. It was beautiful inside the restaurant and the food was good. We had a great time y'all! haha. I wanted to tour the oldest Catholic church in Savannah, The Cathedral of John the Baptist. It was more beautiful than I thought with the stained glass and high ceilings. It is a site to see for sure.

My favorite part of Georgia was the time I had with my father, sisters and family. When I got off the plane I can't tell you how I felt when I saw Heidi waiting for me too! I saw Bren't face and thought how lucky I am to have these new relationships. It is unbelievable to me how quickly I am attached to this new family. There is such a thrill to seeing him this time as opposed to the last few. I am seeing a man that I have developed a relationship with, not a stranger. When I see him , I see me in him now. I always thought I was all my mother but there are definately pieces of him in me too.

On Monday when we were getting ready to leave, I looked at my father sitting in the chair. I thought about the dream I had the night before. It was a strange dream. I was a young girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old (in the dream I looked much like the picture of me on this blog) and I was walking with Brent holding his hand. He was a young man, and looked like a picture I had seen of him from Heidi the day before. I looked up at him and he looked down at me and smiled. It is all I remember of the dream. When I was in flight on the way home this dream came back to me. I suddenly remembered that this was the same first memory I had of my father. At his funeral I wrote about walking with him hand in hand. I've said all along my father has had a part in us meeting- for me this was just another sign that he is here with us now.

There is so much joy for me. I am thankful for each minute I have with him. I try desperately not to think of all the time we could have had together had I just had the courage to contact him 10 years ago. I am trying to engrave every minute, every memory I can make into my mind and heart.

So, time has gone too quickly as I knew it would. At the airport I told him as we embraced that I didn't want to let go. Teisha and I watched him walk away and shared something as sisters- a need for this man that is our father. It will be some time before I see him again. I got on that plane after saying goodbye to him , then my sister Teisha and cried. The visit was great but the pain of leaving is hard to explain. For a brief second I wished I hadn't come. That is how much my heart hurt. Of course that was just for a moment. The time I had was precious and is banked in my heart forever.

Now, time will travel just so slowly until I get to see my mother. Seeing her, Heather and Jesi is my next journey and I'm sure when that time in February comes it too will pass like the speed of light. I feel oddly more connected to my mother now. Meeting the other half of me has been a hard process for her I'm sure. But, once again she wants what is best for me. Knowing Brent now may not be like knowing him in 1972 as my mother knew him but I can see what may have attracted her to him. He has an aura about him that is charming and irresistable.

So, on to my next adventure. Northern Maine in February! Am I crazy? No, I wouldn't miss it for anything.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another prospective, from my sister Teisha...

It was a lazy Sunday at the end of July when my Dad showed up at my house unexpected. The reason it was so surprising is I live in Maine and Dad lives in Georgia. He told me he was on his way up north to visit with my aunts. Dad and I went out on my back steps and sat in the sun and talked while my dogs played. Dad pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of him standing next to a women with his arm around her shoulders. Dad asked me if this women looked familiar to me. I looked at the picture and thought to myself, am I supposed to know her? Is it a cousin or someone I knew when I was young. I told Dad that I did not recognize her. He proceeded to tell me that this women was my sister Jodi and that she had just found him. He also told me that he had met her on his way up.

The next part of the conversation was the difficult part. He told me that Jodi is two years younger than me. He also asked me what I thought. I didn't know what to think with all honesty. It was to much to injest all at once. Without getting too personal, I will just say that it brought up some personal feelings that had nothing to do with Jodi that I had not dealt with. I knew that before I could begin to make room for her in my heart I had to resolve those feelings. Partially in shock and being curious I looked at her profile picture on facebook. I must have looked at it a dozen times over the next week or so. I don't remember which one of us asked the other to be a facebook friend. We started talking on facebook and then the phone. The first time we talked on the phone we talked for about 3 hours. It was wonderful. We discovered that we were similar in so many ways and different in others.

For the next month we wrote back and forth on facebook and talked on the phone some learning more about each other. The begining of September Jodi and I had been talking about wanting to meet in person. I was starting back to college along with working and she was busy with work and family. It seemed as though it would be quite a while before we could meet . September 4th I looked on the internet to see how long it would take to get to the town she lives in. It said it was about 5 hours. I looked at my husband and said I am going to meet my sister tomorrow. I called Jodi that night to see if she was busy the next day. She told me that the boys had games,but we could work it out. I arrived at the ball field at around noon. When I stepped out of my car and saw Jodi it was one of the most amazing moments of my life! For the first time in my life I was looking at someone who looked like me and was my sister. All my life I wanted siblings. I was absolutely thrilled when Heidi came along and when my brother was adopted. Jodi ,I want you to know you are one of the best surprises in my life. You are such a beautiful women both inside and out. You are strong and have overcome what some might have considered impossible odds. You have a wonderful husband and 4 wonderful young men! I love the fact that I am a Auntie X 5 now. I look forward to having the rest of our lives to get to know each other.
Love your sister, Teisha
Below, the first day we met. sept. 4th 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reconnecting after Connecting..a little about my mom

Birth mother, biological mother, Pat- whatever label you want to put upon her for me she is just my mother. When I found her in 1997 I was ecstatic. At the time she lived in NJ, just a short ride from my house here in CT. It was fairly easy for us to keep in touch. We were able to hop in the car and travel to and from each of our homes. When she and her husband (and subsequently my sister Jesika) left NJ and moved back to northern Maine it became a problem logistically.

See, whenever I say my family lives in Maine I think people picture a 4 or 5 hour car ride and the Maine most of them travel to. Coastal Maine towns of Oqunquit, Portland or even Bar Harbor. My Maine is in the northern reaches of the state. Many of the towns just miles from the Canadian border. This is where my family is from. This is where Brent and Pat grew up , and where my father Relland lived until his move to CT in the late 1960's. This equals a 10 hour drive. Not easy to do in a long weekend, which poses the problem of how often I can visit.

If you haven't been to this area of Maine then you are missing out on some of the most beautiful countryside. There are rolling hills with fields of potatoes, broccoli and even mustard. There are views for miles and miles. The many small towns that make up Aroostook County are full of some of the nicest people I've come across. If you like winter activities than this is a great spot for you!

I haven't seen my mother in 3 years. I went to visit my sisters in November of 2008 when my sister Jesika (2 years younger than me) had her fourth child. I stayed for 4 days and travelled with my friend Kelly. We stayed with my youngest sister (from Pat) Heather. At the time my mother was living in Arkansas and I missed visiting with her by a few months (she returned in early 2009 to northern Maine). I had also not been vigilant about keeping in touch with her by phone. I would always think of her and my sisters but did not make enough time to call them. We started to lose track of one another and months went by. Heather and I have been good about keeping in touch, we are both online and use Facebook so that helps tremendously.

After I decided to find Brent and had contacted him I called my mother to tell her the news. I was nervous about how she would react. I did not expect her to be angry, but I anticipated that bringing up the past could be difficult for her. It must have been a tough place to be in to be a pregnant teen about to deliver and have to give your child up for adoption. I know, I was that pregnant teen too. And, although I did not choose adoption, I know first hand the fear you feel when you are in that situation.

When I told her the news that I spoke to Brent and had met him she asked me if he had been nice to me. I reveled in the fact that I broke the news that I met my birthfather, someone she had once cared for enough to have a child with, someone she hadn't spoke to since before my birth, and the first thought was how he had treated me. It amazes me still that I was her first concern. It is the true sign of being a mother, to think of your child first. Although she did not get the opportunity to raise me, she had my best welfare in mind then and now. As a mother myself I found this so touching.

Here's some background- Brent did not know she was having me. Those who knew she was pregnant (most - even her sister) did not know who my father was. Why? You'd have to ask my mother those questions. Protection maybe? Selflessness - definitely. I think of her often, having a baby at just 17 (I was 2 weeks before my 17th birthday having Tom), knowing she couldn't keep me, not telling my father, knowing it would be years if ever if she would meet me. I have never felt anger towards her as I believe she once feared I would. I have always felt she was brave, strong, and exhibited the most purest form of love for me. That she exchanged her own sadness for my happiness is something she should be commended for.

And so, in finding Brent and getting to know him as my father I find that I am reconnecting once again with my mother. Secrets are not something to hold, instead they seem to take a hold of the people protecting them. Now, there is no more to hold anyone back.

My mother is now on Facebook and we have been keeping in touch through the computer. It makes it so much easier to know what is happening in a person's life when you can easily shoot off an email, post on facebook, or send an instant message.

Facebook helped me find my father and now its leading me back to my mom too

Friday, October 8, 2010

14 Days Feel Like Forever

Two weeks. It's not an extraordinary amount of time. Unless or course you are waiting for something or someone special. I remember waiting the last two weeks before my wedding. Excitement was in the air! Or, how about those weeks before your babies are born. That can feel like forever!!

In two weeks Tony and I will board a plane for a four day weekend by ourselves. Just him and I! Oh , I love my kids, believe me... but I can't wait to have some time for just the two of us. If it was just for the fact of our weekend alone it would be one thing. Add in the excitement of meeting with my newest family members and the time stretches on forever.

In two weeks I will have four days with my father. Four more days that I can learn about him and what he has been doing for the last 37 years. It's not a lot of time for sure, but those four days that are coming to me this October mean the world to me. Imagine if you can the emotions that I feel! The nervousness of our first meeting has subsided. Our second meeting, well it was all too fast. Our third meeting- wonderful!! That was the first visit I had with him that I knew I was his daughter (officially from the DNA). We could both relax and put the thought of "what ifs" away. Now, I get to spend four days enjoying him without the pressure.

I've come so far since I first emailed him back in June. I've come to accept the fact that I can love him as my father without it being a betrayal to my Dad who has since passed on. Or, that I am somehow slighting my mothers (both of them!) whom I love so much. I have let go of all the guilt I've felt about allowing him that spot in my heart. If you've lost someone you love, you know that it leaves an aching hole in your gut. Its been 5 1/2 years since I lost my father. I think he'd be happy for me that the gap is closing.

A few weeks ago at the end of a particularly great conversation I had with him on the phone, he said I love you. I said it right back to him without hesitation. I hung up the phone and tears ran down my cheeks for the next half hour. I was caught off guard by my emotions and said what was in my heart without thought. I cried at the realization of the truth- I do love him. It's been a long time since I've had a father to say I love you. I'm blessed that I can hear those words again.

So, my 37th year has been a year of growing in so many ways. My family is growing to great extents!! My heart is bursting with love and joy! I can't thank Brent- I mean my father, enough for opening his heart and world to me. I guess you're never to old for your parents...