Do all good stories start at the beginning? I’m not really sure that is the happiest place to start, but for the sake of chronological documentation, that’s where I will begin.
I was born 40-something-years ago in a small town in Georgia to fairly young parents. My mother was just barely 20 when I entered this world. I think my biological father was slightly older but truth be told, I have no idea.
To start with, I survived on sugar water for the first several weeks of my life. Unbeknownst to my young mother, her milk supply never came in. Back then, for whatever reason, they believed that sugar water was an ok thing to give your infant. I guess the fact that I even survived infancy is a small miracle in itself.
All of my life, I have been told that my biological father was an alcoholic. I have been told that because of his drinking, my mother divorced him but then remarried him after he promised to sober up. As the story goes, he didn’t sober up. My memory of this part of the story is foggy but as I remember it, we (mom, dad, and I) were at a lake and dad was drunk. He proceeded to walk out into the water with me in his arms and lost his footing. I am told that he went under and so did I. Mom had to rush out into the water to save me.
At that point, realizing dad was not going to sober up, mom found the courage to leave him for the second time. I would have been about 1 ½ at that point.
She packed up our belongings and moved us across the country to Arizona where my grandparents lived. This is where my story actually begins. Arizona is all I have ever known.
Mind you, I obviously don’t remember any of this, but these are the details I have been told throughout my life.
To this day, as far as my memory serves, I have not seen my biological father again. I do vaguely remember a phone call with him somewhere around my 12th birthday but all that I remember is hearing his voice and bursting into tears. The next memory I have is when I was 17 or so, I tried to reach out to him by mail. I received a lovely handwritten letter back… unfortunately, it was a handwritten letter from his current wife and not him… and it included a $200 check. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like shut up money.
For many years I have wanted nothing more than to tell my biological father how he set me up for a life of heartache and pain. After all, what else could possibly result from an abandonment so huge at such a young age?
My father was just gone – and I wasn’t worth following or fighting for.
If only he said those words, would it have made a difference?
YOU ARE WORTH IT.