Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's time for a script change.

I am thinking of embracing the notion that my donor dad is it. Wouldn't that be the ultimate mind trick? Poof. With a little wordsmithing, I could eradicate that whole pesky legacy of my "father" rejecting me. I could just be a kid who had a mom who found some sperm and had a baby. She had a husband and when she died, she let that man take care of her babies for a while until they wised up and left.

Even writing that last sentence sets me in a different frame of mind.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I didn't recognize his voice.

I was frying up some falafel and cooking a pot of black beans and roasting an obscene amount of butternut squash and doing everything I could to make it seem like this call was no big deal. He picked up on the second ring.

It was awkward. How much information do I need to provide to a father to jog his memory that he has a daughter? "This is Kristy. Your daughter. You know?" I stopped myself from describing myself hair, green eyes, freckles. To be fair, I wasn't exactly sure it was him when he picked up the phone. There seemed to be a glimmer of recognition. I proceeded.

I decided not to beat around the bush. Small talk seems hollow when you haven't spoken for many years. I wouldn't even know how to do it. Everything would need a few pages of end notes. Even weather was not safe. He doesn't know where I live.

"SoAuntCarolyntoldmethatyouandmomusedaspermdonorandIwashopingyoucouldtellmesomemoreabout that."

I guess I expected a dramatic pause or at least some uncomfortable tension. But, it was as if that was our small talk. "I was wondering when you would find out about that."

His voice sounded tinny and round. As he recounted the story, I found myself lost in his voice. Sentences would pass over my ears and I would have to remind myself to pay attention. His accent was so unique...a bizarre combination Southern (not deep South, closer to the Mason Dixon line) and Minnesotan? His words seemed to be formed from a being that could not be traced to a space. It was as if I was hearing his voice for the first time.

I intentionally "life dropped" to see if he'd ask follow up questions. He didn't. Was he totally uninterested in learning more about his two grandchildren? Or was he just afraid I would dart if he asked about my beloved husband? I guess I am not sure.

He searched the recesses of his mind for details of this process and came back blank. Palo Alto and a vague connection to Stanford was all he could muster. He did say that the doctor tried to match the donor's looks to the father's. Sperm was collected from "anywhere they could find--mostly the university and the surrounding area." It took me a few moments to realize that he was willing to go out of his way to find something out for me. He repeated his offer--he'd call up Kaiser and dig around to find the name of doctors, request medical files and report back to me.

In the fuzz of the offer, I asked him why he never told me. "I never thought it was important." Even when things were stressful? "No." In seven words, he shot down all of the different theories I had concocted about why he could just turn away from me and never look back. In my own moments of parenthood, I find myself trying to put myself in my father's shoes and fail. I would turn myself inside out if it meant I could stay connected in some capacity to my kids. But to attempt nothing? I lack the imagination.

I fumbled and halted and returned to the details of clinics, doctors and sperm. He assumed that I was uncomfortable sharing my own contact information and offered up my stepmother's email address. She instructed him to tell me to "not forget" to email so they could follow up with information. He said it would be a while--they were at their vacation home for the next month.

We both started the dance to get off the phone. "Well, we're out in the garden..." was met with "I suppose I should get back to making dinner..." and then goodbye.

I took out the pan of squash and stirred the beans. I could only think about how his voice was so different from the earthy and sharp voice he uses in my head.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making The Call

"If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have had children."

"It's just a matter of time until everyone finds out how truly evil you really are."

These were a few of my father's greatest hits of my childhood. It wasn't exactly the sort of childhood that is captured by Norman Rockwell.

My dad and I are not in touch. I haven't spent more than an hour with him since 1994. He doesn't know that I have two kiddos. Or that I live in Minnesota. Or that I am even married.

I don't intend on telling him these gems when I call him. I have taken to staring at my cell phone a lot lately. I imagine dialing the last known digits, but I am stuck on how to broach the fact that I know about the donor dad. Worried that my voice will fail me.

Do I start with the quick and dirty? "Hey Dave (cruel irony that his name is also Dave), so I know. What's the deal with the sperm donor?"

Or do I ease into it? "Howdy Dave, how's my evil stepmother? Gonna retire soon? Great. How'd you pick my donor dad?"

Or should I be gentle in hopes that he'll be true? "Hi Dave. How's it going? Oh, I am great. So, AC finally let me in on the secret. I am hoping you can share a bit about what you know..."

And yet, part of me is just grateful to him. I am still struck that he never told me. A man that did not mince words of his unbridled disgust for me never slipped up. He could have slayed me in high school. He either didn't tell or held back my stepmom from spewing the secret. I was already so beaten down, I think it could have pushed me into territories I am surprised I didn't explore.

Or maybe this knowledge would have untied my perverted allegiance to a father who seemed to find peace in torturing me. Maybe I wouldn't have spent years fearing the evil that didn't lurk inside.

Stop staring. Pick up the phone.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Uh oh....This Might Get Messy


As with any web of lies, many are dragged into the sticky mess. When things went down with my dad and I moved in with the H family, my AC unloaded the Secret on an unsuspecting mama. She was sworn to secrecy. After the big reveal, she let me know that AC had told her the donor dad was a Stanford student. This juicy tidbit had still been shrouded in secrecy for me.


For some reason, this locates him in space. My space. Yes, I am very self-centered...I am referring to the world as "my space." (Another product of the 'me generation,' I know.) Could I have crossed paths with him? Could I have seen him on that strange Lutheran Youth event at Stanford in high school? Silly, he must have left by then.


If he was an undergraduate, he could be as young as 53 or 54. Do you think he looks like me? Do you think he reads the New York Times on Sunday from front to cover or just lingers over the Styles section? Ugh. These questions. They were bound to come. You probably knew that. I did not.


I am not even going to ponder the nature vs. nurture question. I cannot go there. I routinely try to avoid it when I see gendered things happening with my boychild and girlchild. And now, this? My cousin dared to blurt out "I guess that is why you are so smart" upon hearing of the Secret. Or another remarked that it explains why I was a bit of a misfit.


I cannot think about this. I am not going to ponder. And I most certainly will avoid The Kids are All Right. For now, I am just going to focus on this funky picture of Nora.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Father's Day

All drama is best punctuated with a pause for a cigarette.

Or at least that it was I learned from my countless hours of watching Days of Our Lives. When AC got up abruptly from the table, I thought that she was just going for the Oscar. I looked pensively at my cousin Pam. "What does that mean? Is my father not my dad? What do you know?" I gazed out on the patio and saw the red embers glow.

Pam just looked at me. "I don't know, but I think you better find out."

When confronted with questionable paternity, I imagine the appropriate response would be confusion, denial, anger? I was simply giddy with the possibility. Delighted. I had spent many hours trying to put the pieces together in such a way that would lead to my father not being my dad. After a rogue internet quiz to determine my unborn son's eye color, I was met with an error message. It was impossible that I would have green eyes with two blue eyed parents, so saith the free internet geneticists. Did my mom have an affair? That would mean that it would have been a lengthy affair--my sister and I are undeniably related. Two peas in a pod. Adopted? I had seen pictures of my mom glowing in pregnancy. I was stumped.

AC came back in from the patio. She looked worn. "So, what do you know?"

What do I know? What do I know? I had popped off with a "When are you going to tell me my dad is not my dad?" in response to the latest tally of family secrets that had been revealed in the past year. I didn't imagine that I would be face to face with my own great reveal. Where were the video cameras?

AC started the tale, haltingly. After trying for a while, my mother went to a fertility doctor. This I knew. I remember her telling me how she had taken her temperature, the disappointments. I knew I was I wanted to child. I just didn't know that it wasn't her with the 'issue.' It was my dad. They decided to use a donor. I had no idea how wanted I was.

It was always to be a secret. As my family rolls with the secrets, only a few people were even told and were sworn to secrecy. AC started crying. She felt like she was betraying her sister.

I realized that the big reveal was all that I would know. AC apparently was not privy to any details about my "donor dad." I guess at some point, I will have to bite the bullet and call my dad.

On her way out to light another cigarette, she asked if Dave would be okay with the news. I giggled (wasn't I the one who she should worry about?) and she retreated to the patio. I watched the red dot glow, my head spinning to make sense of it all. I wondered if I should have joined her.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Note from Spence

o,HOpmn;ln;lnl;nl;nn;nl;mnm;n,l;n,l;,l;nl;mb,;lh;lhjh;ljhj;,gl,l bhvj,

(Translation: I love you Mama's mama. I hope you feel better.)

Out of the blue. Sigh.