Friday, September 13, 2013

The Abandonment Chain

Some things have been weighing heavy in the last couple of months that have been making me rethink family relationships.

So, a few things not everyone knows about me:

  1. I never knew my father. He left when I was less than two and my mother asked him to stay away - which he did. I had a few pictures and a sense of who the rest of my family thought he was.
  2. I had a baby that I gave up for adoption when I was 18.
  3. My mom died when I was almost 14, and I moved in with my sister.
  4. I moved out of my sister's house at 17, and haven't had much connection with any family since then.

I never really had a strong familial bond. While my mom was alive, cousins and grandparents and sisters and stuff - they were the world around me. There was no question of love, and I'm not even sure if children know how to feel that emotion. There was a bond, but not love as I know it now.

After she died, the family fell apart like petals off a cut flower. One by one until there was just a brownish center sitting in dank water. It's only as a teenager that you start comprehending emotions - at least in my case. By the time I started feeling them, family wasn't around to receive them.

At eighteen, I gave birth to a girl. While I didn't really know why, I knew I couldn't raise a child. I thought about it in terms of money and education, but it was really an issue of mental stability. I had years of work to do on my brain before I'd be ready to have anything of worth to offer someone.

I never felt torture about my decision. I gave the baby to a couple I chose, knowing she'd have a good life and would maybe not end up as messed up as I was.

So, scroll ahead 16 years. Here I am, this woman of the world with a (now) sound head on her shoulders and what should happen but a friend of a 16 year old girl asks me what I think of adoption.

What happened was the baby - who is not a baby anymore - got curious about where she came from, found some papers, and found me on Facebook. I mean, really - it's not like I was hiding, and there are only so many Trudy Smocks in the world. One of her friends contacted me - probably at her bidding.

But it hit me like Slap Bet (honestly, How I Met Your Mother is a highly enjoyable show, regardless of the typical sitcom tropes). Wham. I handled it maturely and cut off communication because she's a minor and I don't want to intrude on their family. However, I've spent the intervening time internet stalking her.

I don't know how I feel. Connection, definitely. According to Pinterest, she and I have similar interest. I pore over her pictures. I read her Twitter and realize she's probably struggling with some of the emotional problems I went through. But love? Something. I feel something.

Frustration over being mature and not reaching out to her led me to the other link in this abandonment chain - my father.

Family legend paints my father as a monster. Maybe he was - but I was feeling like rowboat in the middle of the ocean. Even if he was a monster, maybe he could be my monster. Maybe he could give me a reference point of who I could be.

I found him - nothing is sacred on the internet. We're emailing back and forth. I'm mature and accepting - he's loving and regretful. I doubt his love because he doesn't know me, but who am I

He praised me, and it brought me to tears. I HATE that it affected me. It's like I'm that therapy poster child with daddy issues.

It makes me afraid to ever talk to the girl I gave birth to - how badly could I make her feel about not being as self-actualized as she thinks she is? Would she have irrational anger that I'm not more of an obvious mess?

Will she abandon any children she has? Is it in our blood?

It's not all bad. My father is actually pretty brilliant, has a Master's degree, seems concerned, proud, nervous - all of the right things. My guess is that he wasn't a monster, or no more than I've been.

Maybe some people have to be cut out of the skin they're born in by the, "...slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," before they can become the people they want to be. And maybe it's best if they don't drag children down with them.

I don't have answers, because whether you stay or go, you'll cause pain.

I normally don't write about this kind of stuff. Sharing something on the internet... I don't know - cheapens it? This time, I feel like I want some sort of record of it.

Also, maybe the right people will find this.