We had a really fun weekend of camping and today I've got pictures to share…
Shhhh, Little Girl
Last Wednesday night we had what I have started lovingly calling the Annual Big Ass Family Dinner. This event involved, from my side of the family, Dale and I along with Jess, her son Patrick and boyfriend Eryk, Luke and his girlfriend Karly and Hannah. The other half of the group included my Uncle Tommy, my cousin Lisa and her husband Pat, my cousin Len and his wife Peg, their son Brian and wife Tara, their son Dan and his girlfriend Mandy, their daughter Megan and her boyfriend Jim. We were a big group and Len arranged for us to have a private room. I brought the camera and shot some family photos after dinner.
All of us.
I used to be the girl who had practically no family and now I’m the girl with this big loving family and it’s pretty amazing.
And that group of people right there, my family, is where I’m getting my strength from these days because on Monday I got a phone call from my stepmother in Maine informing me that my dad (the “real” one) died on Saturday. I haven’t heard from him in nearly 17 years and, while this phone call wasn’t exactly a shock, well, it has left me in a bit of a state.
Truthfully, nothing in my world has changed. Dale, as always, is my rock. My children (the one I birthed and the ones I got when I fell in love with their father) know I love them and I’m never going to up and walk out of their lives. And yet I’m feeling emotionally vulnerable. And I’m left wondering what kind of parent just stops being a parent. I know, thanks to some very wise people in my world, that his actions (or lack thereof) say a whole helluva lot more about him than they do about me. I also know that my story is far from unique. The adult in me understands all of that and accepts it.
The child in me, though? The little girl that still lives in my head? She is wondering why her daddy didn’t want to be around. She’s wondering if she did something wrong or if maybe she wasn’t pretty enough or lovable enough for him to want her. She’s feeling a wee bit scared and she’s missing her mom terribly at this particular moment. And she sort of just wants to lay down and cry for a bit. I keep telling her she’s wrong about herself and to shut up already but she’s a persistent little thing.
So you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to keep showing her those pictures up there. And I’m going to keep reminding her that our world is full of people who do think we’re good enough to love.
Eventually she’ll catch on and believe it, I’m sure of it.
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I think you need to go in and hold that little girl’s hand. I think you need to tell her that she has a wonderful family, look at these great pictures where you can see the love shining out of them, the smiles and hugs, they’re loving her enough for her to be strong and hold her head up high.
That little girl did nothing wrong. There is never a good time to be a parent. There isn’t always a good parent. But the baby and the child is always perfect.
You tell that little girl, she’s allowed to cry, because she’s allowed to love.
Be strong xx
So sorry for your loss, my friend. What a roller coaster that must be. Hugs and love to you.
Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe it also hurts because now he’ll never come back. Maybe it hurts because it means everyone dies and that really, really hurts (and it’s scary). You do have a wonderful loving family and you’re clearly a perfectly wonderful person, but still: it hurts. I’m sorry.
You do have this wonderful family to help you over this hump. It was never ever your fault, not one part of it. I have told my children the same when their dad chose to not be a part of their lives even though Stacey gave it her best shot.
Hug your family a little closer and hug that little girl that lives in side of your a litttle harder and let her know it’s ok to let go. xoxo
I am so sorry , Carole. It certainly does make one feel vulnerable after the news sinks in and one starts to process it all. Know you have a huge family and whole community of friends who love you very much. Hugs. Thinking of you.
I agree with the other commenters. Hugs!
My husband and his father were estranged for 30 years. His father never wanted to meet our beautiful daughter, either, so they never met. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about these things except let them go, which isn’t easy. Just be gentle on yourself and connect to the positive.
Love that little grrl. She needs all the love you can give her. Show her she’s wrong, she’s loved, she is beautiful and joyful and wonderful. xoxo
My (adopted) daughter, from my husband’s first marriage, has a similar siutation. She’s 20 now, and at University, doing great, well-adjusted and all that, and she knows I’m her mom, and I love and support her. But she still carries a blistering anger at her birth mother (who didn’t want anything to do with her until I started procedings to have her parental rights terminated and the adoption begun 10 years ago, but now constantly tries to contact my daughter). And she also still has panic attacks when we are in the grocery store and I wander away without her noticing, or when she suddenly realises she’s lost track of where I am in the house. And I imagine those things will be a long time fading away. Nobody touches you quite like your parents. And those touches run very deep indeed. My advice? do what you’re doing. Feel it. Acknowledge it. Work through it as best you can, and know that a little bit of it will always be there, no matter how irrational your head says it is.
Lots of wisdom up there. What Maddie said. And about the end of possibility, no matter how unrealistic. Cry. It’s ok. Might even help.
I’m sorry, on so many levels. Sending lots of love your way, and the thought that the family you have made is people who have also chosen you, and will not walk away.
I know so well what you are saying about the adult and the child. I struggle with these same exact issues. It is so hard to reconcile emotions that are so deeply ingrained in us. I can only send you cyber hugs and tell you that in addition to your family there are people out here that care about you and value you. Keep reminding yourself that the lack of attention from your father was more about his inability to relate than anything else. Maybe you have become a better person because of it, although we never wish for our loved ones to have to travel the harder route in life. Let yourself feel and come out stronger on the other end.
That little girl is lucky to have grown into such a wonderful, healthy soul. Your family and friends know that woman and love and respect her so. xoxo
I’m sorry about your loss, Carole. You surround yourself with wonderful people and you work very hard to cultivate a loving group of family and friends.
You are mourning the passing of the father you never really knew and the relationship that you will never have – and it’s OK. My husband had the same thing happen with his birth dad. He was never really a part of his life. Luckily he has a wonderful stepfather who has been there for him. When his birth father died 10 years ago he didn’t really know what to feel. It was very surreal and confusing for him. You are very lovable dear Carole – and very loved by many. Hugs…..
All I can say is I’m really sorry, sorry for your dad who chose not to know you, sorry for the relationship you didn’t have with him, sorry that your mom isn’t here to comfort you, just sorry. You are in my prayers today.
Awww…hugs to you, Carole. You & I both know that sometimes what kids understand about a situation is not how the actual situation is. Keep telling that little girl that she’s wrong, that it was her dad’s own issues, not her, that made him leave. And keep looking around at your reality today, and at all the people who love you. And thank you for sharing – you’re very brave.
It was hard to read this without tearing up. You were brave, as someone has already said, to share this. And not involving our own issues and egos in these situations is one of the most difficult things we can possibly do. Your approach of focusing on and loving the family you have is incredibly wise.
Carole, you had a wonderful father who loved you. He sang to you. He walked you down the aisle. He adored his granddaughter. He supported you. And he was very proud of you. He was just a different man than the one who created you with Barb.
Maybe, just maybe, this event will be a blessing in that it will finally bring closure to something that always haunted you. He’s gone. It’s done. Hopefully you can grieve and then just let it be, live your life, and love those who love you. There are many!
As one who has many of those very same little girl feelings … why would anyone give a baby up for adoption? Wasn’t I cute enough? … I empathize and relate. Although he wasn’t a father to you in so many ways, you are partly him. You are more your Mom, but you are who you are because of (and in spite of, at the same time) him. Feel the way you feel, not one person has the right to judge, and remember that we are all here to hold your hand, pat your back, and simply love you. <3
I wish I could go in and comfort that little girl. I’d reassure her and explain that her daddy’s issues don’t define who SHE is — and they never will.
As for the wonderful, grown-up woman that little girl became .. . why, I’d tell her to listen to her heart; to go ahead and grieve; and to gather up her all her strength and move on. Because biology doesn’t always make you a parent. Be gentle with yourself. Feel what you feel. And turn to all those who love you.
Sending much love and hugs to you. XOXOXO
I’m so sorry for your loss Carole. I think all of us who have ever wondered why a parent didn’t seem to love us as we thought they should, always hope that there’s an opportunity for that to change. When that parent dies, so does that hope. It can be hard to remember that it was mostly his loss not to be part of your life. That little hole in your heart that has been patched before will be again with the love of your family. In the meantime, it’s ok to have a good cry.
Echoing all the above sentiments and sending you hugs.
I’m so sorry….. Remember, and I know this will be a back and forth thing (I’ve gone through something like this in my life) – that you did nothing wrong – it isn’t/wasn’t you – and that you are a good, beautiful human being…. He was fighting his own fight, whatever that was….and he lost a lot in that process. And I think somewhere inside of him – he realized that – maybe even grieved it. But didn’t know how to “fix” it….
Linda in VA
I’m so sorry Carole. You do now have a wonderful family and may never know why he was the way he was but it wasn’t your fault.
Any loss is hard. Even the ones when you don’t know how you feel about the person. I know you are a strong person. You’ll come through this ok although it might take a bit of time. Let the little girl cry a little, then dry her tears and look at all that family that loves you dearly.
Oh Carole, I’m sorry for your loss. You are a wonderful, loving, caring and beautiful woman. I’m so glad you have a family that gives you strength. Sending a big warm virtual hug – Mary
You’ll never understand his reasons, but of course, they had nothing to do with YOU as a person. I know that as much as you can understand that in your head, it still hurts in your heart, and I’m sorry that you have had to deal with that pain throughout your life. I’m glad that you have been able to surround yourself with a large, loving family.
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