Monday, May 17, 2010

FAMILY REUNION

I love a happy ending. Being a child of divorce, and a romantic at heart, draws me to others reuniting with long lost relatives. For me there is nothing like children of adoption finding their birth parents or estranged friends and relatives finding their way back to each other. Que the water works because I am going to let the tears flow.

It was only as an adult, with children of my own, did I begin to realize that some of these people were saved from detrimental situations. Realistically it is highly unlikely that two stable and financially secure people (read I am a secret princess) would place their children for adoption. The idea of “I am from greatness” is part of the many fantasies and fairytales that fuel the imaginations of our society, a kind of "Snow White Syndrome."

It was eye opening to discover, on subsequent follow up shows, that the endings weren’t always happily ever after. These shows struck a chord within me as a younger person. I also dreamed that one day I would be restored to my previous status as “daddy’s girl.” One day I would receive the acceptance and love that all children need and many crave. There would be the symbolic open arm embrace, an apology for the sporadic relationship, and an ocean of cleansing tears. One day there would be healing and my father would step into the place he belonged, if not deserved.

One year I had my very own “follow up show” revelation. I was newly married, with a new baby, and my father resurfaced after a three year absence. Armed with some college and an understanding, or so I thought, of dysfunction. I vowed I would be accepting and forgiving. I still had questions. Especially watching my husband parent our little baby and feeling an overwhelming love for them both. I really didn’t understand how anyone could walk away from their own flesh and blood.

During that year rather than growing closer I realized that I would NEVER have a functioning healthy relationship with my father. And that was OK. For years I resented the fact that my father’s actions caused me to become a stereotype, little Black girl from a broken home. I let it go. I decided I would be content with the blessing of the funny imperfect intact family I had been a part of for 19 years, my strong mother, my step-father (best grandpa ever), and my sisters. They loved me, my child, and my husband. That was enough and the true happy ending.
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