I was just re-reading my version of the story of my life, when I realized there was no mention of my biological father. Ironic? Perhaps.
My mother and father have different memories of their relationship and how I came to be. But the things that they remember similarly are the ones I think are the most important.
My father was my mother’s boss at Jack in the Box. He was fun and charming, and part of my aunt and uncle’s circle. My grandmother recalls meeting him for the first time, and him telling her, “Mrs. Abel, someday I will marry your daughter.” She thought he was handsome, as well as slightly nuts.
New Years Eve, my mother, father, aunt, uncle, and friends drove to Las Vegas to party. I’m not sure if it was a dare or mere inebriated antagonizing… but they ended up getting married that night!
Shortly thereafter, they realized the mistake they’d made in the “heat of the moment”. The marriage was annulled, and I arrived on the scene not long after.
I don’t understand the reasoning behind my mother’s initial decision to exclude my father from my life. Even more though, I don’t understand my father’s choice to not fight harder to be in my life. Regardless, my early years were spent without his presence. My mother tells me he came by when I was about 4 years old, to sign papers releasing his claim to me, so that my step-father could adopt me.
My first memory of him, is a brief phone call and then going out to dinner with my mother and father in celebration of my 11th birthday. The next memory is his attendance at my 13th birthday party, and then a phone call for my 16th birthday.
When I became engaged, my father and his wife began to make a solid effort to participate in my life. We went out to dinner several times, and got to know each other. When Matt & I went through some tough times, he was there for me– I actually lived with him for several months. That was amazing for me, as I had never experienced a close father/daughter relationship before– I truly appreciated getting to know him on a deeper level.
Since Matt and I had children, my father goes through spurts of being interested in us. I think, and this is complete guessing on my part, he is afraid to “bother” us– the reality is that we crave having him in our lives, and miss him when he is “busy”. But I can’t force him to foster a closer relationship, so I just enjoy the times when he is around.