Friday, February 10, 2006

My Dad

I grew up without my dad. I never really understood what a dad was or why a dad was significant when I was growing up. I saw my dad on a handful of occassions, but never really felt I had connected with him - until last summer.

Last August, my father's grandmother was on her deathbed, and he flew home to say his last goodbyes. It was the first time I had laid eyes on him in 15 years.

Just so you can put this in perspective, I never really felt like I fit in very well with my mom and brother and sister. Or the rest of my family, for that matter. I seemed to think and feel differently about the world than they did. Simply put, I was a fish out of water.

Please don't think my family was mean to me about it. I really believe that they accept and appreciate me with all my quirks - in fact, we often remember my zaniness with love, acceptance and appreciation - as well as giggles and guffaws at family get-togethers. Being different is no longer an issue for me, but it definitely makes life with me more interesting. :)

Having come to a place of (relative) maturity, sitting down and talking to my father was a revelation for me. In spite of growing up almost entirely devoid of his influence, I had become akin to my father. The flash temper, the gregarious personality, the tendency to get close to very few people (the moat of detachment from which we safely observe the world), so open and yet so closed, the disdain for status quo and the rules of society, the intense self-rule that dictates justice and fairness and love and concern for the precious ones in life, the rebellious hellion, the devoted lover and parent...he is all of this and so am I.

I am glad I had the opportunity to get to know my father. I can say for the first time in my life, I understand what a father is and why he is so important. I not only have an appreciation for him now, but I feel like I really, truly have a love in my heart for him that is not born of obligation or duty. I know this guy, he is like me.

Thank you, dad, for everything you've given me that is me, and everything I needed that I never knew you gave. I love you.


shortensweet said...

Yes, we do love you. Quirks and all. I'm glad you found a peice of your puzzle.
I always hoped (although I said to the contrary)that having my Dad around filled some of the void I would imagine you'd feel by not having a dad. "Uncle Jerry" loves you and was very happy those years we were together.

bunnyjo georg said...

Uncle Jerry will always be a very special person to me. I wish Aunt Mom didn't dislike me so much - I'd like to spend more time with him. I miss him a lot and would really like him to get to know the girls.

Brian, a real father said...

Biological dads must be cool. It's too bad that some people choose to deny "their children" from knowing their real dads.
It's even worse when they try to validate their decision by saying something like: "well, he's a bad guy." or worse yet, "my wife says he's a bad guy."
Of course, I'm not talking about anyone specific.
I'm going to court on the 27th because my wife informed Lauren that I'm her biological dad. She's 14 now. Mary has never asked me or my family for Lauren's medical history. When my lawyer offered it to her, she sent it back. Apparently, terminating my parental rights changes her DNA so that my family history no longer applies to her.
I wonder if any of your other blog fans that have also stolen a child from their father have ever asked for the family medical history. What would be a terrible shame is if that person who stole a child also worked in the medical field. That would incredibly ironic. Hypocritical? Oh yeah. But of course I'm not referring to anyone in particular.
Some people claim to love a child and then deny truth to that child. They also deny the child half of their family and force upon them a fictional family. In doing so, they deny a family a child, nephew/niece, grandchild, or cousin. They would never feel bad about doing this as they have the "child's best interest" at heart. It's never their own selfishness.
That would be unchristian of them.
Someone may even lose their faith over the issue.
Of course though, I'm not talking about anyone specific.

a guy who loves his kids, defender of truth said...

If you took my comment personally, perhaps you should get a new sense of humor. That's just my way of being "funny".
If my comments end up destroying friendships, well, I'm good with that. I have real friends with healthy senses of humor.
Laura, I'm glad that you and your dad have bonded and I wish you the best. Hopefully, I will have that same opportunity with Lauren someday. I also hope that a little boy out there gets to know his real dad.

bunnyjo georg said...

Brian, your comments really moved me, and yes, brought tears to my eyes. Having lost a child myself, you will always have my 100% support and admiration for never giving up on Lauren. Go get 'em, tiger!

the Dad. said...

Brian, you should really get your facts straight before you try to make points with them. The bulk of what you said is based on false information you're either assuming, or getting from somebody not directly involved in the situation.

There are a few things I feel guilty about, and I think we made a few mistakes along the way, but the situation you're describing doesn't even approach reality.

If you want to know something, try asking me. And whatever it is you're angry about, you should have talked to me.

We did not pull a 'Ring'.

Brian said...

How odd, Ray. You assume I was talking about you. I posted 3 different times I wasn't talking about anyone specific.
Just out of curiosity- since you bring it up- does Chantze know who his biological father is? Do you maintain a current medical history of his paternal family?
I don't know any of this about him and never claimed to. I was referring to my daughter when I wrote that.

You also never asked how my daughter is doing. Thanks for caring.
She is tall and thin, dyes her hair jet black and has very pale skin. She may have psoriasis, not sure yet. She is also more than mildly bitchy... probably a 14 year old thing. She might have a jock for a boyfriend, we aren't sure of that either, could just be a friend.
Yes, that's all I know about my daughter. Isn't that great! Don't you wish you knew that much about your teenage girl? Oh wait, you see your daughter all the time. You have my envy.
I posted on Jamie's blog that Lauren knows. The phone calls that none of you made to find out details really inspired me. I suppose getting info second hand from Jamie would suffice, but it seems to me that it would be more personal to find out from your friend.

I never said you pulled a Ring. When you told me that you did the same thing that the Rings did, you said "at least some good came out of you losing your case". Yeah, you used the earth-shattering pain you saw me in to inflict earth-shattering pain on another person.
Do I know Chantze's father? Nope. Does he deserve to know Chantze? Well, you said that he was at the termination hearing. If he didn't want to know Chantze, he didn't need to show up. You also laughed when you said how he screamed "I'm not signing over my rights". That just shows that he had the strength to speak. I couldn't.
Rhonda had to help me stand up. She had to help me into the elevator. You put that onto another person. How Christian. Now you know why I didn't speak to you for over a year.

None of this matters anyway. You're right and I'm wrong. Sorry, I won't have an opinion anymore.

One last thing, ALL of my information came from you, Ray. I got NO information from anyone else. You are the only source. If my facts are wrong, it's because the source was no good.

Marcheline said...

Holy crap - there's a whole soap opera going on under this blog that nobody but the characters know about. Am trying like hell to make sense of these comments, but failing miserably....

- M

shortensweet said...

Brian, I'm glad that you're finally letting yourself say the things that have been bottled up. It takes more than DNA to be a Dad though. In the movie Parenthood, it's very well stated, "you have to have a license to drive a car or catch a fish, but they let any butt reaming asshole be a parent."
Fritz who has never biologically fathered a child is a fantastic father, and grandfather. My Dad, wasn't around for a lot of years. The relationship I had with my Dad growing up, damanged me. What matters is what is best for the child. Now, I don't agree with what happened to you, but it isn't the same situation with Ray's family, and they don't lie to him about it. We all love you, and I'm sorry if you feel like we don't do what you need when you need it. We would never intentionally do a thing to hurt you. I'm sorry if you think that we would.

Mom said...

Brian, please forgive me for not asking about Lauren. I did question Jamie at great length and she told me everything Roo had to say. But please know this, also. I find it hard to talk to you about Lauren because I feel that what your wife did was not well-considered. Yes, I see and hear your pain, it's like an explosion. As you know, we all sat in court on your side of the room. We heard, we saw. I have never stopped feeling bad about what happened. But jumping out of a van and accosting an innocent 14 year old, I think may have caused more pain and damage to your daughter than you intended. And why did a relative do this? If you thought it was right and you cared so much, why weren't you there? Not wanting to bring these issues up, I did fail to call and discuss this. It wasn't because I didn't care. I do care...about how Lauren felt about this. And one more thing. Chantze's father was given the opportunity to visit his child and refused. When he saw him in public, he turned the other way, too. Nor did he support Chantze, even though he admitted in court that he supported his new girlfriend's son. You love your children so much that you cannot imagine a father who doesn't care. Caring without responsibility is no different than not caring at all. Children require major attention and sacrifice. If there is none of that, what good does your love do the child? You have every right to be bitter, but please don't take it out on us. We advised you repeatedly to get a lawyer, and let's face it, your parents had the money for it or at least a retainer. You said you didn't have money of your own, but you could have earned it at your dad's shop. It would have taken 5 minutes or one phone call to a lawyer to find out that contact with your child would have secured your right to visitation. If you want to talk about truth, that is the truth and it is a matter of public record. I will always care about you and what happens to you and Lauren, nothing you say or do would make me change my mind, but I am not going to hear you accuse others of doing what A and M did, because it is a totally different thing. The law provides a remedy for unwanted children who require food, clothing, medical care, etc, but most important, a chance to grow up in a loving family with parents who are willing to provide all that. Chantze was clearly unwanted by his biological father and Ray was more than willing to step in and become his father in every way but biological. As for medical, the law also has a remedy for that. These words were never said before because of your sensitivity and we do love you and don't want to be on the revenge list, like you know who.

Mom said...

One thing I forgot is I know Chantze's parents would allow him access to his biological father someday if he wished, nor did they hide him or disallow visits, the biological father always knew where his son was, and they did not discourage his interest. You have it all wrong and I think you owe them an apology.

bunnyjo georg said...

Brian, we've missed you being a part of our life. There was a time when you were a brother from another mother, and I felt as comfortable with you as with Ray. I miss that. It is sad to me that our children have grown up separately and we don't really know where or how you fit into our family anymore. Every word you said here I can relate to. It is gut-wrenching, painful and devastating to lose a child. I can't even imagine how much worse it was for having Lauren taken away from you. I think, reading over these comments, that one thing is abundantly clear: we do love you, we've missed having you as a part of our life, we all hope for good things between you and Lauren and despite mistakes and misunderstandings, we'd still like you to be a part of our family. We all hurt about what happened with Lauren and with your hurt and anger over Chantze. But the question to me is, what will we do now? Are we willing to work through your feelings, our feelings and be friends again? I hope so. I know every one in my family is willing. Come on, Bri, we've got room to adopt a few more.