(You might wanna grab a cup of coffee... this is gonna be a long one!)
I made some decisions when I was much
I know it would happen one day, I thought I was prepared for it.
Over the past 16 years I have played this very scenario out over and over in my mind, but now that it is really happening, I have decided that I am So NOT ready for this.
I want to ignore it. I want to go back to bed and have it all go away. I just don't want to deal with this right now... or ever maybe... I don't know.
I have come to the conclusion that the readers of my online posts are way smarter and much more clever than I am and may just be able to help me figure out how to handle this delicately.
**Flashback** to a 19-20 year old Dana.
Much younger, much more naive. I knew it all. I had my life all planned out.
I was in love , You know... the kinda love that happens when you are young and don't have a clue what you are thinking, or what you really want, or what true love is supposed to be?!? that kind.
Let's call him Fred.
Well.. Fred and I were both young and dumb. we decided we were in love , we knew we would be together forever... blah blah blah...
We even moved in together for a very short time. (much MUCH to the horror of my family & his too!) I wasn't raised to think that was ok. It was a sin... But please keep in mind... My 19 yr old stupid self knew everything at that time.. I was an adult! I was gonna make my own decisions.. and at that time in my life.... I was blinded by love. (bleck!)
anyway... To make a long drama-filled story short, shockingly enough, we did not last. I moved out... he moved out... we kept seeing each other for awhile but in the end... we were not right for each other. And even if we were, we were to young and stupid to know how to handle the situation.
Those facts in themselves really are not too big of a deal...
Except in classic After-School Special style, I found myself pregnant and single.
there was small-talk about getting married. But thank goodness even in our stupid state we realized that raising a child in a drama-filled tumultuous marriage would be worse than me raising it alone.
Promises were made, promises were broken.
The day my beautiful baby boy was born Fred was at the hospital.
One decision that I made that day was a biggie.
We were gazing upon this beautiful new life and I explained to Fred that He was going to be a father, but it was his choice if he was going to be a "Daddy" or not..
(I didn't want my son to ever come to me and ask... why doesnt daddy come to see me anymore? We used to do things together but now he doesnt come around anymore... what did I do to make my daddy not love me and want to see me? This was a real fear for me because I had the same feelings as a child about my father, thats another story for another time.)
I explained that he could be a daddy to this child but it couldn't be something taken lightly. I would never stop him from seeing him as much and anytime he wanted, it was his call.
I did not force him to pay child support, altho in hindsight, I should have.
I thought he would stand up like a man and take care of his son.
I so wanted him to be to be a good father.
he came to see him several times in his first months of life. Then it stopped. The last time Fred saw our son, he was about 8 months old and we met in the mall, sat on a bench and talked for about 10 minutes. He called on his first birthday, but that was it. No more visits, no more phone calls, nothing.
Keep in mind before you talk about how terrible Fred is, I was young and dumb and scared. So was he.
It did break my heart, I can't understand how anyone can have a child and not want to be with them, not want to be a part of their life, and not ache to have them near. But that was not the case.
Fred moved on got married and had another child and life went on for all of us.
I also got married, had more kids and really didn't give the situation much thought.
Over the past 16 years I have spoken to Fred 3-4 times. each time I talked to him about the fact that our son wanted to change his name, and we needed him to sign a paper to allow it.
He always agreed. We made small-talk then hung up.
The thing that struck me as odd and heartbreaking was that during each of these phone calls Fred never once asked about our son. he never asked if he was ok, never asked what he looked like, never asked about his personality, nothing. I can only assume that he was scared out of his mind too.
I'm sure somewhere in the back of his mind he always thought I may come running to him for back child support.
But our conversations always ended with me sitting there holding the phone in my lap crying for my son, not because of the lack of help, but because my son was growing up not knowing where he comes from, not knowing half of his family.
Fred has never been a secret to my son, he has always known that he was his biological father, but his daddy was the man who raised him.
He knows he has another set of grandparents and two aunts that he has never met.
I have some pictures of Fred in his baby book.
He has his eye color, he has his hair, he has his skin-tone.
I have never talked bad about Fred to him... I basically told him that we were young and made some silly decisions and Fred loved him enough to know that he wasn't ready to be the kind of father he deserved, so he let me raise him on my own in a house full of love and security.
He asks questions about him and I answer the best I can. A few years ago Fred was on the news for catching a prize winning shark in a fishing competition, My son still has that picture on his wall. He thinks it is super-cool that Fred is a fisherman and My son lives to fish. He thinks it's genetic.
Over the past few years my son has asked several times about contacting Fred. He doesn't want a warm-fuzzy tear-filled reunion, but he does have some questions He ,understandably, wants to know who this man is. He wants to talk fishing, he wants to hear his voice, he wants to make some connection. I told him to write him a letter and I would make sure he got it. He has done that several times, but is scared that Fred will ignore it or think he is out to get something from him. And he doesn't like the fact that each letter is nothing more than a bunch of questions, he thinks that will scare Fred off, so he crumples it up and throws the letter away.
My biggest fear (and I think his too!) is that my sweet-hearted son will send that letter and get no reply. I have worked so hard to ensure he does not ever feel rejection from a parent I just don't want that to happen now.
I have grown-up. I'm sure Fred has too.
But... How can I protect my son from something that even I am not sure of the outcome?
As his mother I want to do everything within my power to protect him and make sure he knows he is loved. I just don't want him to be hurt by someone that even though he has had no part in his life, is his father. IS important to him even though he has never met him.
Reality & Consequences Sucks sometimes.
Oh and Fred? got an e-mail address? Maybe that would work?
(not that he reads this.... but hey, it's worth a shot)
Click HERE for an UPDATE