Thursday, February 2, 2012

The weirdness of the hug.

My parents separated when I was 6.  In fact, that summer that I was to turn 7, we lived at my aunt's house.  We lived in the basement (which was finished) and her family lived in the general living quarters of the house.  It was a bustling place, since we had three kids in our family, 5 in hers, their friends, my mom, aunt and uncle.  To this day, my cousins and my sister and I are still rather close.  At that time, there was Bill (bio dad) living in our house all by himself. 

Nice.  Send the wife and kids packing. 

We moved back in at the end of that summer.  I'll never forget that my mom told me on my birthday that we'd be going to "1171" which was the address that I knew and loved.  Bill moved out and to a home of his own and we could go back to life as usual.

He wasn't home a ton.  He worked and he bowled a lot.  He was never really involved with us. 

I remember the fighting.  Oh, there was intense fighting.  I think that I've blogged about it before, but there was one particular fight that is forever etched into my memory.  We lived on 3 acres, fighting had escalated and my sister and I went to hide out in the barn.  I don't know what made me, but I went up to the house, found my brother Billy crying and crying in the window, walked over hunks of broken glass while in bare feet, got him and took him down the barn with us.  It was just not a pleasant environment at that point.  When we heard we'd be going to Aunt Carol's with mom, I think we were all relieved.  Mom didn't want us to grow up that way. 

Bill never wanted anything to do with us.  I don't recall seeing him that summer.  He took my brother to spend the night once, but there weren't calls or even to stop in.  My aunt's house was all of two miles down the main road.  It's not like we moved states away.

When Bill moved out, I remember spending the night at his place once.  He did get married not long after the divorce was final.  I remember spending the night after his remarriage once.  We'd get cards dropped in the mailbox signed "Bill and Rose."  We never got calls.  He didn't care.  I think that he did make a showing at my first holy communion, but in the back of my memory, I remember him slipping in and out of a side door. 

Bill took us to the bar one evening for a visit.  Yup.  Good times.  I know I've mentioned this one before, too.  I thought mom was going to blow her stack.  Frankly, I don't blame her.

Bill went off to Oregon with Rose.  He went off to get away from his responsibility to pay child support.  He wanted my mom to "buy him out."  I think that the price was something like $5000. total.  Mom said no.

So times had come, he and Rose had sent a Christmas package to LeAnne and neglected to include Billy or me.  A card would have been grand, but I do remember at least that Rose made LeAnne an afghan.  I remember that he called to speak with LeAnne.  I refused to speak to him.  He didn't call to speak with me.  I was an after thought.  Just something that was there.  "Well, I might as well talk to her, I suppose," was the thought that I figured that he had. 

My extraneous self and my brother decided that if he didn't want us, we didn't want him.  We did go through adoption proceedings and were legally adopted with a legal name change in May, 1989.  Billy was 11 (nearly 12) and I was 15. 

Over the years, Bill turned up at Billy's house.  He really wanted a relationship with him after he found that my nephew was born.  He longed for my brother to change his name to the "family name" as to keep the name on. 

Um, no.

I've run into him with my sister's weddings, occasions at her house, bits with Aunt Donna and Grandma.  All were cordial.  After Grandma died and he showed up in tears, (Aunt Donna called to say that it was the end and they chose to go to bed instead, which was their choice, but then they were shocked that she was gone.  Go figure.) I gave him a polite hug and told him that I was sorry.  

Yesterday was just flat weird.  It was like he wanted to perform for an audience.  He seemed to have resurfaced after years because now I'm able to take care of myself and I require nothing from him.  No, it doesn't work that way.  Parenting doesn't work that way.  It irritates me.  He wants to make this seemingly large gesture and it is all for show.  Sure, I'm polite.  I wouldn't tolerate disrespect from K- towards him or Rose, but in the end, they are almost no different than a stranger off the street.  What a horrible attitude to have about someone who is half of your biological make-up. 

:shake of the head:

I realized today that my whole dad experience has been rather weird.  I mean, underneath I knew that, but I had a biological father who wasn't present and a step father who made up for that.  That relationship was still weirdish because of how he grew up.  (He was one of 8 and didn't grow up in a very touchy-feely or close household.)  I was adopted at 15 1/2 and still to this day refer to my father by adoption by his first name.  I mean it as no disrespect, but my brother does the same thing.  When I refer to him in title, he is my father.  When I refer to Bill he as what he is-- Bill.

Family trees are weird and sometimes burled and disjointed.  I don't know.  It just is what it is.


Jessica said...

As a child my siblings and I were adopted by a family member so run-ins with the bio dad were always something I dreaded. I can sympathize! You're right, the feeling the acknowlegement is a show for other people and not genuine makes for a rather uncomfortable situation. I feel fortunate that as an adult he is not a part of my life anymore. You handled it very graciously!

Rach said...

Shuddering and skeezed out all over the place. Yuck.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Sorry for all this. Your story breaks my heart.