I have known for years. I have felt it in my heart. I have known it in my mind. Yet today, is when I finally found acceptance.
I am a pretty logical person. I tend to see things for what they truly are, that is, except for one area in my life. My dad.
My dad gave me up for a step-parent adoption when I was 5 years old. I always thought he was tricked or that he didn't really mean to do it. I mean, who could give up their daughter after being with her for the first 5 years of her life? It didn't help that my mother and adoptive father told me that I was not wanted by my dad. No child should ever be told they are unwanted.
But, it was true. It doesn't make it right that they said it. It doesn't make it easy to accept.
I have always been treated differently by my dad and step-mother. I always thought it was just because my dad wasn't in my life for thirteen years. I started really noticing that I wasn't really his daughter when I had children of my own. When we would visit their house, my children were not allowed to play with their other grandchildren's toys. The grandchildren that were from the children they raised. I ignored it. I was upset, but my children were young and didn't realize what was going on, so I ignored it. I wanted to be in my dad's life that badly. I wanted to be his daughter.
There were always signs. My children wouldn't get birthday cards. They wouldn't get Christmas presents or cards. They barely got phone calls.
I started to see more signs after my brother's suicide. When I went to the visitation and saw all the family pictures, I wasn't in any of them. They exist, but they didn't put any up. My dad made comments like "of all my kids, he had the most potential" directly to me as if I were not one of his children. He called more after my brother's death. I thought we might be getting closer. I was wrong.
My paternal grandmother died this past June. She was the only true family I had. She kept me connected to that side of the family. She died and a part of me was left empty.
My dad said he would call me with the funeral arrangements, but he didn't. I just shrugged it off because I couldn't go anyway. My dad said he was going to be mailing me some of my grandmother's things. I waited. And then I waited some more. He called and got my address. This time when he called, he talked to my children and told them to be looking for a surprise to be delivered. My children thought he was sending them something special. It was close the the twins birthday. They thought he was sending them a present. I told them that it was my grandmother's things, and there was no surprise. They were disappointed. I was angry. I waited. They waited. My step-mother sent me a message asking for my address. I sent it. I waited. My dad called and said the cat ate my address (yes, it is okay to laugh at this), I gave him my address again.
My dad called on Thanksgiving and wanted to Skype with the kids. They were so excited. That was short lived. My step-mother said she couldn't get Skype working. My father told them he would call back the next day so they could Skype with the whole family, including their cousins. He never called. They were disappointed. I did, however, receive the boxes with my grandmother's things. They weren't anything that anyone else wanted, but they were so precious to me.
Christmas came and went. No call from my dad. No cards for the kids.
My dad gave me up thirty-four years ago and I just accepted it this morning. I, selfishly, pushed my way back into his life. I was not invited. I just walked right back in. I remembered seeing my dad throughout those thirteen years before my eighteenth birthday, but when I saw him, he wasn't there to see me. He was there to pick up my little brother. I just happened to be there.
I cried this morning when realization kicked in. I was talking to my husband and I just cried. It was hard to accept. But I did.
I would have put up with being treated differently. I would have continued to put up with broken promises. I would have put up with it all because I selfishly wanted my dad in my life that bad.
He started making promises to my children. He made promises and didn't follow through. They are starting to see that they are not treated the same as all the other grandchildren. It is not fair for me to continue in my selfish ways of wanting to be in my dad's life. It is pretty clear that I am not. I don't want them to be hurt like I have been.
It is freeing, really. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my heart. I shouldn't have to try to be in my dad's life. He should want to be a part of mine. I am his only daughter. It has taken me quite awhile to acknowledge this, but I am worth having a relationship with.