Estranged Father
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05-03-2013, 06:42 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 06:55 PM by Peanut.)
Estranged Father
I guess I'm not "estranged" from him, now that I think about it. I never actually knew him. But that's the best way I can describe this situation we are in right now.

I grew up in a family with two sisters and a brother. My oldest sister is six years older than I am, but we are best friends. My second oldest sibling is my brother, who is four years older than me. My baby sister is only behind me by a year and half or so. Technically, as people pointed out to us in recent years, we are all HALF siblings; We all share the same mother but we all have different fathers. I never really thought of that. We always have treated each other as "full" siblings. (We NEVER introduce each other as "half" anything.)

We grew up in a household where our mother worked many odd jobs and eventually became a "professional waitress." There was never much money and there DEFINITELY wasn't enough love in the family. My siblings all ended up meeting their fathers at some point in their lives. One of the fathers almost killed my mom, but, my sister still got to meet the man. She got to know him and understand who he really is as a person.

When I got to be around the age of twelve, I decided to ask my mom who my dad was. (I know. Twelve effing years of not knowing a thing about a father IS rough for a young girl.) I remember walking into her room and sat on the edge of her bed and directly asked, "What's my dad's name?" She flipped out! Like, she tripped out and ordered me to leave the room. How 'dare' I bring HIM up?

I left the room and cried til my broken little heart could lend no more tears. It's safe to say that I resent my mother. I have trouble just being in the same room as that woman.

Eventually, being a teenager, I used the subject of my father to get on her nerves. If we were in an argument, I would just bring him up, and it would get her in such a frenzy, that the original battle we were having was forgotten. Through the years, though, my two oldest siblings gave me little bits of information about him. I found out his first name one year and another, I found out his last name.

By the time I was fifteen, I was living on my own with a guy who eventually turned out to be my son's father. I got so focused on "growing up," I put the subject of my father on the back burner for many more years. I would think of him at random times, but I stopped talking about it. I was content-no, not "content," I accepted the realization- that I would never meet my father.

Then one day, when I was twenty years old, I was doing a bunch of errands with my two sisters. It was a bright, sunny and beautiful day. I was out to get my Social Security card and my birth certificate. Then, and don't ask me how, my older sister brought up the "dad" subject. I sulked in the backseat of her SUV. I lit a cigarette and listened to them discuss stuff on and off. Eventually, my oldest sister asked, "Haven't you ever wanted to meet him?"

Shut up. I don't want to talk about THAT. Of course, my reply was along the lines, "Yeah, I guess. But that's never going to happen."

It got a little quiet in the small confines of the car. But then, my little sister says simply, "Found him."

"Found who?" my other sister asked.

"Ashley's dad."

My heart began to pound and my thoughts started to race. She couldn't have possibly found him! (I was downplaying earlier when I said I "thought of him at random times." There were many days in a row that I obsessed about finding him. I scoured obituaries, news articles and D.O.C databases but to no avail. There was no trace of him. Eventually I began to imagine that my mother made him up and she just picked a name and went with it.)

"Whatever," I said. But I found myself raising up in my seat to get a view of the screen on her phone. My oldest sister began to slow down and pulled over to the side of the road. She snatched the phone my sister and read it aloud. There was a picture of him, too, only it was only half of his face. For some reason, the picture wouldn't upload all the way.

Awesome.

And guess what website he was hiding on? O.T.I.S. (Offender Tracking Information System.)

Awesome.

Fast forward a few days, and during that time, I read and reread about him and his incarceration for drunk driving in 1994. It was also during this time that my mother got in another motorcycle accident. That woman has so much metal in her, I've begun to call her bionic. She was staying with my step father and was under the influence of many pain killers which made her even loopier than she has been devolving in the last few years.

I'm both ashamed and yet proud of the fact that I took "advantage" of my mother's more openly sharing state of mind. I got a notebook out and called her on the phone. I asked about my dad. What was his name? Where was the last place he lived? What color was his hair? Did he have tattoos? She answered all of my questions. There was no arguing or yelling. I think she knew that, at twenty years old, her daughter was old enough to know who her dad was.

Everything checked out, down to the eagle tattoo he had. I got off the phone and realized I might be staring at the brown eyes of my father.

I copied down his parole officer's name and number. The following Monday, I made the most intense phone call I have ever made. She picked up and I stammered my name and said if it was okay to ask about someone she was responsible for. She began to say that she couldn't give out information about the parolees and I choked up. I didn't mean to make that little noise. But before I knew it, the tears were flowing and I just started throwing out all this information I found; I wasn't making any sense. I was sure she thought I was crazy. I was pacing the upper floor of my house, and I ran out of room so I began to walk up and down the basement steps. I was on my way up for the umpteenth time, and after I took a breath to spew more information at her, that she stated," You think he's your dad, huh, sweetie?" OH MY GOD. I began to cry again. She tried to soothe me and told me it would be okay. I calmed down somewhat and then she began to ask me my contact information. (She couldn't give ME his information, but she could relay mine to HIM and if he decided to make contact then that was okay.)

I told her. Soon we hung up and I sat like a zombie in the living room for hours. Around seven PM, my phone rang from an area code I never heard before. I stared at the phone and I think I picked it up at the last second. It was a man.

I honestly can't recall that conversation. (That's weird!) I know he asked me who I was and I told him my first name and asked if he ever knew a woman by [my mother's name.] He said he did and I remember he took in a breath and I felt like I could hear his excitement through the phone. I told him that I did believe that he was my dad and that I'd like him to take a paternity test. He agreed.

Over the next few weeks, I gathered information on paternity testing companies and prices. (It's funny that the place I chose ended up being the same company who did the tests for the Maury show...) In the following weeks and hundreds of dollars later and a few short conversations between my possible father and myself, I got the letter I had been waiting twenty-one years of my life to see.

I had already planned to go to the cemetery by my house when I got the results. I wanted to be by myself in peace. (I have always found cemeteries as peaceful and a good place to gather my thoughts.) I sat under a random tree and slowly opened the letter. There were lots of numbers and stuff but at the very bottom, I saw a one-hundred percent positive result. I had finally confirmed something I needed to feel a little more complete.

Fast forward two years later, and I find myself confused with the relationship I share with my dad. My son is his only grandchild, as I am his only child. (That he knows of.) It's been bitter-sweet. He tries to give us gifts and money when he can and on the usual holidays. I always feel awkward around him. We don't know each other. I find I am hesitant to get to know him. How am I reacting this way when I had been so obsessed with finding him for years?!

I was prompted to write this because he sent me a text last night asking for my son's last name so he could send him birthday money. (I don't know why he stated it that way; He's sent cards for him before without asking for his name.) But I did realize it has been since before Christmas that I even last talked to him. We haven't seen each other since Father's Day, 2011. I haven't wanted to talk to him, anyway, since he called me while he was drunk one night. It made me feel so uncomfortable and I told him that it was not the time to discuss how we feel about things and that he should call me when he's sober.

I finally sent him a text explaining my absence. I explained that I have a "phone phobia" and I fear having conversations on the phone. (There's only a select few people that I can have a conversation with.) His response was, "I'm not going to live forever. I hope you don't take it too slow."

Now I sit here writing this and pondering how to go about building this relationship with a father I never knew and I fear I will never truly "know."

"It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in awhile exhilarating." -Stephen King
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05-03-2013, 06:52 PM
RE: Estranged Father
Sorry Peanut...it's rough stuff to deal with. Just know that you can take the time you need.

I have to say that I would be suspicious if his life is still a little iffy. There are people in the world that would go for using the child's name in ways that are less than honest. That said, maybe he wants to give a savings bond or something that would require a name. It seems funny to me that he has never asked before.

You have every right to protect yourself and your son. Being linked genetically to someone doesn't mean they are someone you want fully involved in your life. Think it through, use your gut...I think your hesitation says a lot.

Hugs to you. It's a tough one.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude.
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05-03-2013, 06:57 PM
RE: Estranged Father
(05-03-2013 06:52 PM)Anjele Wrote:  Think it through, use your gut...I think your hesitation says a lot.

Hugs to you. It's a tough one.
Thanks Blush

"It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in awhile exhilarating." -Stephen King
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05-03-2013, 07:05 PM
RE: Estranged Father
(05-03-2013 06:42 PM)Peanut Wrote:  I guess I'm not "estranged" from him, now that I think about it. I never actually knew him. But that's the best way I can describe this situation we are in right now.

I grew up in a family with two sisters and a brother. My oldest sister is six years older than I am, but we are best friends. My second oldest sibling is my brother, who is four years older than me. My baby sister is only behind me by a year and half or so. Technically, as people pointed out to us in recent years, we are all HALF siblings; We all share the same mother but we all have different fathers. I never really thought of that. We always have treated each other as "full" siblings. (We NEVER introduce each other as "half" anything.)

We grew up in a household where our mother worked many odd jobs and eventually became a "professional waitress." There was never much money and there DEFINITELY wasn't enough love in the family. My siblings all ended up meeting their fathers at some point in their lives. One of the fathers almost killed my mom, but, my sister still got to meet the man. She got to know him and understand who he really is as a person.

When I got to be around the age of twelve, I decided to ask my mom who my dad was. (I know. Twelve effing years of not knowing a thing about a father IS rough for a young girl.) I remember walking into her room and sat on the edge of her bed and directly asked, "What's my dad's name?" She flipped out! Like, she tripped out and ordered me to leave the room. How 'dare' I bring HIM up?

I left the room and cried til my broken little heart could lend no more tears. It's safe to say that I resent my mother. I have trouble just being in the same room as that woman.

Eventually, being a teenager, I used the subject of my father to get on her nerves. If we were in an argument, I would just bring him up, and it would get her in such a frenzy, that the original battle we were having was forgotten. Through the years, though, my two oldest siblings gave me little bits of information about him. I found out his first name one year and another, I found out his last name.

By the time I was fifteen, I was living on my own with a guy who eventually turned out to be my son's father. I got so focused on "growing up," I put the subject of my father on the back burner for many more years. I would think of him at random times, but I stopped talking about it. I was content-no, not "content," I accepted the realization- that I would never meet my father.

Then one day, when I was twenty years old, I was doing a bunch of errands with my two sisters. It was a bright, sunny and beautiful day. I was out to get my Social Security card and my birth certificate. Then, and don't ask me how, my older sister brought up the "dad" subject. I sulked in the backseat of her SUV. I lit a cigarette and listened to them discuss stuff on and off. Eventually, my oldest sister asked, "Haven't you ever wanted to meet him?"

Shut up. I don't want to talk about THAT. Of course, my reply was along the lines, "Yeah, I guess. But that's never going to happen."

It got a little quiet in the small confines of the car. But then, my little sister says simply, "Found him."

"Found who?" my other sister asked.

"Ashley's dad."

My heart began to pound and my thoughts started to race. She couldn't have possibly found him! (I was downplaying earlier when I said I "thought of him at random times. There were many days in a row that I obsessed about finding him. I scoured obituaries, news articles and D.O.C databases but to no avail. There was no trace of him. Eventually I began to imagine that my mother made him up and she just picked a name and went with it.)

"Whatever," I said. But I found myself raising up in my seat to get a view of the screen on her phone. My oldest sister began to slow down and pulled over to the side of the road. She snatched the phone my sister and read it aloud. There was a picture of him, too, only it was only half of his face. For some reason, the picture wouldn't upload all the way.

Awesome.

And guess what website he was hiding on? O.T.I.S. (Offender Tracking Information System.)

Awesome.

Fast forward a few days, and during that time, I read and reread about him and his incarceration for drunk driving in 1994. It was also during this time that my mother got in another motorcycle accident. That woman has so much metal in her, I've begun to call her bionic. She was staying with my step father and was under the influence of many pain killers which made her even loopier than she has been devolving in the last few years.

I'm both ashamed and yet proud of the fact that I took "advantage" of my mother's more openly sharing state of mind. I got a notebook out and called her on the phone. I asked about my dad. What was his name? Where was the last place he lived? What color was his hair? Did he have tattoos? She answered all of my questions. There was no arguing or yelling. I think she knew that, at twenty years old, her daughter was old enough to know who her dad was.

Everything checked out, down to the eagle tattoo he had. I got off the phone and realized I might be staring at the brown eyes of my father.

I copied down his parole officer's name and number. The following Monday, I made the most intense phone call I have ever made. She picked up and I stammered my name and said if it was okay to ask about someone she was responsible for. She began to say that she couldn't give out information about the parolees and I choked up. I didn't mean to make that little noise. But before I knew it, the tears were flowing and I just started throwing out all this information I found; I wasn't making any sense. I was sure she thought I was crazy. I was pacing the upper floor of my house, and I ran out of room so I began to walk up and down the basement steps. I was on my way up for the umpteenth time,and after I took a breathe to spew more information at her, that she stated," You think he's your dad, huh, sweetie?" OH MY GOD. I began to cry again. She tried to soothe me and told me it would be okay. I calmed down somewhat and then she began to ask me my contact information. (She couldn't give ME his information, but she could relay mine to HIM and if he decided to make contact then that was okay.)

I told her. Soon we hung up and I sat like a zombie in the living room for hours. Around seven PM, my phone rang from an area code I never heard before. I stared at the phone and I think I picked it up at the last second. It was a man.

I honestly can't recall that conversation. (That's weird!) I know he asked me who I was and I told him my first name and asked if he ever knew a woman by [my mother's name.] He said he did and I remember he took in a breathe and I felt like I could hear his excitement through the phone. I told him that I did believe that he was my dad and that I'd like him to take a paternity test. He agreed.

Over the next few weeks, I gathered information on paternity testing companies and prices. (It's funny that the place I chose ended up being the same company who did the tests for the Maury show...) In the following weeks and hundreds of dollars later and a few short conversations between my possible father and myself, I got the letter I had been waiting twenty-one years of my life to see.

I had already planned to go to the cemetery by my house when I got the results. I wanted to be by myself in peace. (I have always found cemeteries as peaceful and a good place to gather my thoughts.) I sat under a random tree and slowly opened the letter. There were lots of number and stuff but at the very bottom, I saw a one-hundred percent positive result. I had finally confirmed something I needed to feel a little more complete.

Fast forward two years later, and I find myself confused with the relationship I share with my dad. My son is his only grandchild, as I am his only child. (That he knows of.) It's been bitter-sweet. He tries to give us gifts and money when he can and on the usual holidays. I always feel awkward around him. We don't know each other. I find I am hesitant to get to know him. How am I reacting this way when I had been so obsessed with finding him for years?!

I was prompted to write this because he sent me a text last night asking for my son's last name so he could send him birthday money. (I don't know why he stated it that way; He's sent cards for him before without asking for his name.) But I did realize it has been since before Christmas that I even last talked to him. We haven't seen each other since Father's Day, 2011. I haven't wanted to talk to him, anyway, since he called me while he was drunk one night. It made me feel so uncomfortable and I told him that it was not the time to discuss how we feel about things and that he should call me when he's sober.

I finally sent him a text explaining my absence. I explained that I have a "phone phobia" and I fear having conversations on the phone. (There's only a select few people that I can have a conversation with.) His response was, "I'm not going to live forever. I hope you don't take it too slow."

Now I sit here writing this and pondering how to go about building this relationship with a father I never knew and I fear I will never truly "know."
I can sort of understand where you are coming from.

when I was a child my dad was around a tiny bit. (My parents were divorced when I was 3 years old, due to him being a drunken cheating asshole) I saw him some weekends 4-5 times that I remember. He would show up at my house in the middle of the night, drunk, wanting to see me (usually accompanied with some random woman he'd met at the bar that night) and of course my mother would turn him away. He got married at some point (with the woman he had been cheating on my mom with) and had a kid. My mum, to her benefit, never said an unkind word about him to my face, at least not until I was old enough to realise what a dickhead he is.


When I was about 10 years old I got shipped off to live with him. (My mum had met a man and started dating him, one I didn't like. I had told her that it was him or me, and well there ya have it) My living there consisted of mostly being ignored while they were all over my young brother. That lasted about 3 months before I couldn't take it anymore and I called my mum in tears wanting to move home.

After that I never really saw my father. He emailed me once and informed me he was coming to visit me where I lived when I was in highschool. I informed him I hadn't lived there in a long time and was married (for 2 years) and living in Australia. That got a response of something like "oh. okay"

Fast forward 3 years and I moved back to America after seperating from my ex-husband. I discovered he was living in Oregon with his ex wife (on and off again marriage to that first woman he married when I was a child) Feeling a twinge of regret about not having a relationship with him (stupid of me huh? Sad ) I had lunch with them. While his ex wife was very nice he barely said anything to me. After that I saw him at my brothers going away party (he was off to navy bootcamp) My father just gave me dirty looks and didn't even speak to me.

This was the last time I saw him (that was about 2 years ago now). From what I've heard hes mostly spending his time drinking and hanging out with his methhead girlfriend and her kid (Did I mention hes a corrections officer?) and getting punched in the face by my brother (he was stopping my father from beating up his girlfriend while drunk) I sent my brother a well done text after that.

Growing up i spent a lot of time wondering what was so wrong with me that I wasn't worth knowing. Maybe I'll never understand it? Just something I'm going to have to live with Sad

I have given up all hope of ever getting to know the man and in all honesty have no desire to anymore. He basically ignores my brother now like I was ignored all my life.

After my long rant I'm basically trying to say sometimes it's just not worth the effort.
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05-03-2013, 07:41 PM
RE: Estranged Father
(05-03-2013 07:05 PM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  Growing up i spent a lot of time wondering what was so wrong with me that I wasn't worth knowing. Maybe I'll never understand it? Just something I'm going to have to live with Sad

I have given up all hope of ever getting to know the man and in all honesty have no desire to anymore. He basically ignores my brother now like I was ignored all my life.

After my long rant I'm basically trying to say sometimes it's just not worth the effort.
I spent a lot of time wondering the same thing. But the way I see it, I feel that a child should be able to make their OWN opinion of the parent. (I'm sorry he was a d-bag, but at least you got to see first-hand what you [weren't] missing out on.)

I just know I don't want to talk to an alcoholic. That's one thing my mom did right by us growing up; She didn't drink around us. I respect and appreciate that. I can't say she didn't allow drunken assholes into our lives, though Confused

And thanks for sharing your story with me Blush

"It was life, often unsatisfying, frequently cruel, usually boring, sometimes beautiful, once in awhile exhilarating." -Stephen King
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10-06-2013, 08:10 AM
RE: Estranged Father
In the beginning people drink to mask emotional pain. If the pain isn't dealt with the drinker may become a full blown alcoholic, addicted to booze and it's effects.
You need to decide if you want to build a relationship, warts and all. Has he met your son? As the testerone declines older men become more like grandmothers. Your boy needs grandparent time to help give him a sense of his lineage. Bite the bullet and see where it leads. It could be good.
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