Parenting Doesn't End With Adoption, In Fact, It Is Just Begining

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Absence Makes The Heart Grow........

"Absence makes the heart grow founder". Does it really? Or does absence make the heart grow curious, empty, confused, or just plain hard? I never truly understood this phrase, and in keeping with the theme of Father's Day, I've decided to write about my take on absence, absence of a father.

Of all the misfortunes my life has experienced, I was fortunate enough to have known my father. He was, for what seemed the all too short period of my life, all the things a father should be. He was my teacher, my protector, the one I went to for advice, and when my car broke down, he was a disciplinarian, and the authority figure in our home he was firm, but fair and he had a HUGE heart. My Dad walked us through many storms and sunny days, and at the end of each, stood a man that did the best he could, always. He was young when he married my mother, and young when they divorced, and what seemed even younger, when he died. At 45, he left behind his second wife, myself, my brother and our then 8 year old sister. In our case, absence has made the heart grow lonely, and longing for the father we lost. Willing to give up everything we have in exchange for just one more day. But, at the very least, we will always carry the memories of the days we did.

Brother, Taz, Dad and Me, in really bad 90's attire lol
This is not the case for many, especially adoptees. After reading Rebecca's recent posts, I can see the effects not knowing your biological father can have. Which led me to think about my own children and their father. My girls were victims of my "Broken Chooser", (recently heard this, and thought it to be very appropriate, ty RH) Hannah's only memory of her bio-dad is him throwing a coffee cup at me, and Ashley has no memory of him at all. I used to be happy that they didn't know him, but now, I'm not so sure. Absence makes the heart grow, confused.

I truly, in no way desire they have a relationship with him, but that's my own selfishness. I do however, for identity's sake, wish they knew more, and of course would support them if they decided to find him. But to be honest, I'm hurt. I happen to be "facebook friends" with the "lucky" girl who followed me down that oh so pleasant road, and I was doing what we all do on facebook, looking at her pictures. I stumbled across some pictures of him, one recent, and a few older ones of him with their kids. It bothered me, that he was, and still is, a part of their lives, but ran from our girls. Is that fair, are my children more fortunate, or are hers? Her children will grow up knowing their father, but being let down by him and hurt by his mistakes, while my girls will grow up, creating their own images of him in their heads, and wondering "what if" he was in their lives. Absence makes the heart grow, curious.

Moral of the story is, whether you have a bio-father, adoptive father, father figure or none at all, the father is just as important as the mother. All too often in our society father's are put down, put out, left out or have let us down. I believe we need to put the "F" back in Family. Father's need to be on the list right next to mothers. Their role in the identity of our children is just as important as ours, and I hope I can be as supportive as possible when the time comes for my children to find their father, because when it comes to them, Absence has made my heart grow stronger.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Had A Bad Day"......

About a year before I began my relationship with Rebecca, and Ashley was living in her then pre-adoptive home, I received, what I consider, one of my most priced possessions. A CD from Ashley. The CD contained some songs that were clearly selected by Ashley herself and some that I now know were chosen by her Dad. This CD, what I like to call, an eclectic mix of great music, came accompanied by a simple card, that read; "I made you this CD. I think of you when I hear Had A Bad Day, it's on here with the other song I like. Love Ashley".

So simple, yet so powerful. I put the CD in and listened from beginning to end. By the 5th song I was in tears, along with my mother who was listening from down the hall. Whether intentional or not, every song spoke to me, as though Ashley were giving me some secret messages, and in some way, maybe she did without even knowing. I pondered over how sad it was that when she heard the song Had A Bad Day, she thought of me. I honestly had grown to dislike the song thanks to American Idol, but listened to the words intently, over and over. For the first time I heard what the song was saying and cried. Here was my daughter, thinking about how my life's a mess, I'm lost, and all I needed was a break, ouch.

The one verse, that to this day continues to echo through my mind, when I listen to the song, and think of my past mistakes, and everything I'm doing now is; "So where was the passion when you need it the most, you kick up the leaves and the magic is lost." Where was the passion when I needed it the most? Why is it that now I have more passion than time, but when my children were counting on me, my magic was lost? I can't for the life of me figure it out, but I do know, it won't happen again.

I'm thinking about this today because I've been reminded of other people in my life, that I, at one time, had judged for lacking a passion for their child. At the time, it seemed an unspeakable act, to walk away from your child, to give up and allow others to parent them. But I now understand, that sometimes, the walking away part, was the best thing for the child at the time, and still may be. I know that your emotional state can overpower your reason, and drive you to do things, you wouldn't dream of in your right mind. Although, it is often difficult to let go of that pain, I know it is right to let go of the anger and resentment, for I would be a hypocrite, to do anything less, than that, that was done for me, forgiveness.

 Forgiveness doesn't always make it right, but it does open the door for healing, and to that person, whom I speak of, I offer you forgiveness and I hope you can begin to heal.

 On that great CD, directly following "Had a Bad Day", is a song by Saving Jane, called "Better Day". How appropriately placed on the playlist! After the words of Had a Bad day resonated with me, the words of  "Better Day" fueled my fire. I played that song all day every day, until I heard Ashley's and Hannah's voice sing the words from inside me.........

"It's gona be a better day,
Think I'm gona be OK,
 Got a little air to Breathe,
That's all right with me,
Got a little light to shine,
You can't take what's mine,
 I've been down SO LOW, NO WHERE BUT UP TO GO,
So go ahead bring all the rain,
It's Gona Be A Better Day!"

Enjoy Your Better Day, Live Like Today is Your Last, and Don't Forget to Love Your Children, No Matter Where They Are!