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Welcome to another installment of My Essay Tuesday, the day I write an essay on some aspect of my life, past or present.
I never knew the man who sired me, my mother never wanted me to. I guess he was a pretty bad guy, then again, I only have her word to go on. The story is, she had a relationship with this man, got pregnant with me and before she could have me, he was sent to an overseas post. In the meantime, she discovered he had an entire other family, wife and kids that she never knew about! She said that he tried to come see me and sent gifts after I was born but she wanted nothing to do with him after that, I grew up never even seeing a picture of him.
When my Mom met my Dad, he stepped into her life and stepped up to the plate, adopting me as his own and then three years later they had my brother, Kevin. My Dad had met this other man and even threatened his life if he ever bothered my Mom and me again, so the story goes. It’s not that I don’t believe her, I mean my Dad backed up the story, I just know how she could skew the truth when it suited her purposes. Either way, if it is true, then he is someone I am better off having never known. Still, I was curious of course, never having known what he looked like or why I might have some of the traits I do, as any child would naturally be.
Like, is he responsible for my love of music, he was a drummer so I heard. What about my height, they called him “shorty” so my guess is yes. I’m four foot nine, about 100 pounds, give or take a pound. Was he handsome? I will never know, yet I know my mother had good taste in men, even though her luck was not great until my Dad came along and rescued her, just like my husband rescued me. We were alike in our struggles with men, I had a habit of picking bad boy loser types and evidently, so did she. My mother went through a marriage that ended in divorce, the fiasco with my “father”, a rape that produced a child, for which she was sent to a home for unwed mothers until she had my half sister, and then my Dad walked into her life. He was her hero and I consider him mine as well.
I was two and a half when he adopted me and he is the only Dad I have ever known, therefore he is my Dad in every sense of the word. I was raised with my brother, I knew I had three sisters from my mother’s first marriage, yet I never understood why they didn’t live with us. We saw them from time to time, when either they got to visit us, or we made a trip to Biloxi (my birthplace). No one ever told me the story except to say they lived with their daddy and their new stepmom. Then when my mom passed away, none of them, and I have four, came to her funeral. Wtf??? I was beside myself with anger and grief. I did not and still do not understand what could be so bad that your children don’t come to your funeral. My mom had her faults but I loved her and now, I don’t want to hear the story and have my view of her ruined forever.
Now, that family that my “sire” had at the same time he impregnated my mother? Don’t know them, don’t feel related to them, but my mother always worried that I might meet them someday, being the world traveler that I was. I only know his last name was Foster and trust me, I have never met a guy with that last name. She thought it might be just my luck to accidentally meet and even possibly date my “brother” but luckily, that never happened. I’m not even sure how many other kids this man had. According to Mom, he also had a bad temper and would beat her if she didn’t give him her money when he wanted it. Yeah, not a good guy at all.
Now I’m at a time in my life when I’m spending a lot more time with my Dad than I ever did, could be getting to know him even better and here is, hardly able to speak anymore because of some problem no doctor seems to be able to figure out. I finally got him good hearing aids, but that didn’t fix his speech. He is tired of going to doctors and I don’t blame him, or he might go to a speech therapist. He tried that once a few years ago, it didn’t do much to remedy the situation. My dad is a saint, I wish I could help him but I just try to spend quality time with him, take him to see his doctors and help him around the house. He took care of my mother through years of her illness, never complaining although that’s all she ever did. He worked and took care of her until he was eighty years old! Now he should be enjoying his retirement, and I guess he is, but he would love to be able to speak better. It’s like he has had a stroke or has Parkinson’s, yet the doctors checked him for all that and cannot find anything wrong.
I love my dad and wouldn’t trade him for the world, he has been my teacher, a friend, and my supporter. He is generous to a fault and true to his faith. He was in the Knights of Columbus, and still attends church when he feels well enough. His eyesight and coordination may be starting to bother him, he prefers I drive him around unless it’s a close place and I have no problem with that. My oldest boy lives with him, an arrangement that suits them both. When the time comes for us to do something different, he would be welcome living with us, although I can’t ever see him wanting to leave his house. I will get him a nurse or whatever he needs when the time comes but who knows? He may outlive us all.