First Mother Forum had a touching post about natural fathers and their effect, absence, inclusion, exclusion and other topics surrounding their involvement in the surrender of their children to adoption. The stories shared were very touching. Several made my heart ache as I could relate strongly to them. As I have alluded to here over the years, I was deeply in love with my daughters’ father for more than half my life. Before my pregnancy, during, after surrender, later in life, through my first marriage to another man, a part of my heart was saved just for her father. I actually made a pact with him the night he left my bed before his wedding to another woman that he would come back to me, that we would be together in our futures. It is all silly romantic notions now, a tad bit embarrassing to look back on, but oh, how he consumed my soul. There was something electric between us physically and emotionally. Our story is long and complicated and I have been hesitant to date to share much publicly. I am still hesitant. However, I will share that my relationship with him was another example of giving up the dream.
Much like I did with my daughter, I created an image of him that I desperately wanted to be true. I put a mask on him and when I looked at him I saw him as the mask not who he really was. I kept hoping and dreaming someday the vision I had of him would come true and he would be the man I thought he was and should be versus accepting who he was and was not. It sincerely still hurts. I still think about that dream guy I fabricated in my mind. The guy that would stand up for me, for our daughter, for us, affectionately named Wolf and Tiger Eyes by my younger sister. He would buy and restore a 69 convertible Mustang for me and we would drive across country for months on end with no destination in mind. We would stop in grassy meadows and he would work on the car and I would write. Being an incredible photographer and illustrator, he would capture our trip visually. Oh, gosh, the dreams I had for over twenty-five years. Flights of fancy of a deeply passionate young girl who wanted nothing than to wear ripped up jeans, tee shirts a little too tight across her bust (he liked them that way), cool Native American jewelry, hold her baby in one arm and the hand of the man she loved in the other.
As my daughter did, natural father told me clearly, over and over again, that he did not love me the way I wanted him to. Despite writing me deep love letters (oh, how he could write, I still have all his notes and cards and letters), dedicating songs to me, buying me gifts and leaving them in special places to be found by accident, when push came to shove he told me directly and indirectly it was never going to happen. As I did with my daughter, I kept going back for more, despite the obvious pain and disappointment, I kept trying. I even held hope for reuniting with him during my search for our daughter. I so clearly remember breaking down in the cab of his truck, after she was found, crying out “I brought her back. I found her. I gave her away but I brought her back.” A twisted sentiment in many ways, we both signed her away to strangers yet I felt fully responsible for the act and hoped in some way that finding her would make him want me again. Here was another chance for him to be the man I wanted him to be. Sad really… and oh, so, codependent.
Codependent, I believed it was I, not him, to blame for the state of our relationship. In my dream world, he was perfect. The state of our relationship was my fault. If I tried harder, softer, less frequently, more frequently, this way, that way, anyway, he would change his mind. The more he pushed me away, the harder I tried. I was sure I could change his mind. He never did. The last time he contacted me, about five years ago, I refused to meet with him or talk with him. I could not face him telling me, again, that he was going to go away and he wanted me to do the same. I had met my future husband and I could not allow natural father to drag me into places – good or bad – I was not sure I could claw my way out of – again. I had to move forward with a man who did love me.
But enough about me and the silly girl I was. Go read the post and the touching comments over at First Mother forum.