This is a long one bunnies… so feel free to skip it or skim it- whatever suits you…
Dear… no, not “dear”, I’ll just call you “Mick” (since I try not to swear here).
For as long as I can remember- I have written letters and kept diaries to think things through and to explain things to myself and to others. Yet I have never written to you… I dunno why.
To be completely honest, I always think of you, at least a little, around Christmas and on the knucklehead’s birthday.
Until my son was about 7 years old, I did my level best not to think about you at all. I had nightmares about you showing up and demanding to see my son- and for all that time I never spoke your name out loud. It was only when I found myself working with three men with the same name that I realised I was incapable of saying it, you had always been “him” or “you-know-who” up till then.
So I got help… not immediately, but I got help. At first I tried to fool myself into thinking my son may need help with having no father- but the psych I was seeing told me he was very well adjusted and very healthy and didn’t seem to have any problems with who he was and where he came from.
Round this time was also more or less when my cousin married a girl who had a daughter by another man- and when my cousin wanted to adopt his new wife’s little girl, they were told they had to get her biological father’s permission- even though they’d never seen each other, never had contact and he paid no maintenance.
I then consulted a lawyer and he sent you a similar letter at my request- a letter asking you to sign off all your paternal rights to my son as well as give me permission to have him adopted if I got married. I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time, but I wanted to have that document anyway. You refused to sign off your paternal rights to my son but you signed the adoption permission letter… with the proviso that I don’t ask you for money if I ever get divorced!
Huh? I mean, WTF dude!?! I have NEVER asked you for anything! Not once!
Right, I got that outta my system.
Do you wanna know what the one thing is that bugs me more than anything else- and on a regular basis? That I cannot complete my son’s family tree in any photograph albums or his baby book. And every year from grade one to seven he had to do one for school as well. Sure I know your name, and I know your parents names… but I just cannot seem to write them down and acknowledge you all as part of my son’s family.
Is that strange?
I figure that since you aren’t on his birth certificate and you don’t appear on his christening certificate either- until he meets you one day, you aren’t part of his family.
So, back to the beginning.
When you told your mother I thought I may be pregnant, she took almost immediate action. She gave me an injection, to either abort an early pregnancy or to start my period if it was just slow… at least that’s what she said. I didn’t ask what it was and she didn’t tell me.
That didn’t work, so a coupla days later she gave me two flat, white, rectangular tablet thingies to, um… insert into myself. Again- I didn’t ask- and those didn’t do anything either.
If I think now, of the risks I took then, by allowing your mother to medicate me any way she saw fit… I shudder to think about it! And then your mother phoned my mother, and told her she had a doctor all lined up to perform a termination and that she would pay for it all (even though abortion was still illegal back then).
This was only a week or so after I did the pregnancy test and it was already clear in my mind- although I hadn’t admitted it out loud to anyone- that your mother didn’t want to know anything about my baby. I was still in love with you though, and I hoped we could work something out for my son’s sake, even though I had no interest in getting married right then. Then when you told me about the family counseling session you’d had and how it had come out in the session that your family thought they had enough to deal with without an illegitimate child in the mix- I knew things weren’t going to work out and we broke up shortly afterwards.
Honestly? If you hadn’t told me what your family had decided in your counselling session, we could very probably had a perfectly “normal” weekend parenting setup with maintenance and shared holidays and so on… but in a way I think you wanted to get off the hook too- and you knew that telling me what your parents had said was an angle you could use.
I think I was about 10 weeks pregnant by then.
We broke up shortly after our first anniversary. There were no lawyers, and there was no paperwork involved. Everything was verbal.
I spoke to you a few times again- when we saw each other- after we split, we were still writing our exams “together” and I each time I saw you I tried to delude myself into thinking that we could at least be friends for my son’s sake. Then after November we didn’t see each other or speak again.
Then when my son was about two weeks old- you called the house. I’ll never forget it- I went completely cold when I heard your voice on the line. For a split second I thought maybe you wanted to see us and make something of your role as my son’s biological father- but you didn’t even ask after him.
Or me for that matter.
All you could talk about was the motorcycle your parents had given you for Christmas.
I was hurt and angry all over again and I knew I had not been wrong about our future.
I asked you to stay away from us, I said that I would leave you alone and that you’d leave us alone and we could all start over again.
Well you agreed- and please understand me- I will ALWAYS be grateful to you and to your family for sticking to that agreement.
Many, MANY times I have considered tracking you down to talk to you- especially as my knucklehead gets older and starts asking more and more questions and talking about you more, but I never follow through with it. I never wanted to give you the impression that I wanted or needed you around. Tracking you down would be more for my own peace of mind than anything else- I have always told my son that if he wants to, I’ll help him find you when he’s 18 years old but not before.
Contemplating contacting you is because I want to know what you’re going to say to him when he contacts you one day. What “could” happen is one of my greatest fears. Maybe you decide you’d rather not get to know him. Are you going to tell him that? Maybe you decide to tell him our story differently to what I’ve told him.
I mean, I KNOW we won’t remember things the same way. I have told him a lot about what happened when we split- obviously not everything- but enough for him to understand a small inkling about why I broke off all contact with you.
And he does want to meet you one day. I half hoped – wished – he wouldn’t want to, that I would be “enough” for him.
You see, I resolved- before he was born- that I would not lie to him, that I would tell him as much of the truth as I thought he could handle. Like when he was in nursery school and the other kids asked him where his dad was- I just said he should tell them you’d gone to marry someone else. Little kids can sorta understand that.
As he grew older I told him more- to begin with, only when he asked me a question, but slowly I’d tell him things as I remembered them. Like how much you loved grilled cheese and chutney, and how you hated marmite, how much he looks like you (though he’s far better looking) and how similar his handwriting is to yours.
I tell him the good things and the funny things that I can remember. And my family does the same.
This might seem a little disjointed… but I’m just noting things as I think of them.
I pray with all my heart that by some miracle, my son can have his Disney-movie-reunion with his biological father one day (he refers to you as his dad- I have never thought of you that way) and all will be right with his world- even if I don’t have to speak to or see you.