Claiming the Past to Live in the Present

AS mentioned in my previous post, I was in love with my daughters father for more than half my life. There were many many things I loved about him. First and foremost, and probably most powerful, he loved me. I believed it, I felt it, and cherished it. I had never felt loved by anyone before him. I mean that sincerely. I never ever felt connected to, loved or understood by my parents, siblings or even my friends. I was always a little off, a little jagged, a little too distant, too outside the inner circle, to smart mouthed, too strong-willed, too oddly dressed just too TOO. Too everything.

Not with him.

He made me feel adored and fabulous and unique and wanted and needed and well, loved. He was intoxicating.  He was (and still is) the dark and brooding type. Physically dark complected (native american blood), with the most amazing skin color, particularly in the summer. Dark chocolate-brown hair. Everything about him was deep. His skin color, his hair color, his soul. He was (and still is) an amazing artist and talented writer. For me, as a teen and later into my twenties and beyond that was all very appealing. He wrote me many love letters (I still have them all). He transcribed song lyrics, made me mix tapes in the days when they really were tapes, and drew me pictures. I smile as I think of all this now as there was a time when reflecting on this caused me intense pain. Now I see it all in my head and it produces an involuntary smile and makes me truly believe, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

As noted, we had three relationships during those twenty something years.  The second and third, in my opinion, were even more complex than the first one. Before our daughter was born we were teenage loves fraught with all the complex emotions that brings.  After she was born and lost, our already intense and complicated natures and associated emotions multiplied ten fold.

Through the years I wondered at times, if my hanging onto him, fanning faintly burning embers of that love, was really an attempt to hang on to her.  I could not have her, but I could have him.  This thought often caused me to be a bit, well, skittish with him. In my younger days, before either one of us was married, I would play a game of Hold Me Close So I Can Push You Away.  I feared the intimacy, I feared the depth of my love for him and I would let it get only so close. Thoughts of our daughter would invade my mind and I would believe I had no right to be so happy with him. that we had no right to enjoy our love, after what we had done. So I would push him away.

Later in life I came to want something else from him, desperately. Like an addict needed a fix. I needed more from him than his love.

I needed him to claim us, me and our daughter.

He had never told anyone in his family about her, about what happened to me, to us, what we both had done, what my mother had orchestrated (she took him to the airport so Easter House could fly him to IL to surrender his daughter before she was even born). For him, of all people, to keep me and her buried in his closet like a dirty porn magazine that had to be hidden from view, was too much for me to bear. (By the way, that was the way I felt about it, not necessarily the way it was or why he did the things he did). I needed someone, anyone, to validate me, to say I was her mother, to tell the world I had a daughter and I wanted that person to be him, her father. I wanted him to at least tell someone his seed had merged with my egg and that joining produced a wonderful child.

It never happened.

Even after I found her, he failed to do so. His wife knew about our daughter of course (we all come from the same town). He told her and they jointly decided they were not telling anyone else. Their logic (which I tend to agree a bit with now but it still hurts) is that if she wasnt willing to be part of their life they were not going to disrupt the lives of others with news of her. The adult me of six years ago was angry and disappointed. I put on my best mature face and said I understood and agreed and it was his family and his life and his other children. Yet inside me, that teenage girl mother madly in love with him raised her emotional fist and punched him in the side of the head till his ear bled.  She/we were hurt deeply, again, by his lack of claiming us.  It set me back pretty badly in terms of my emotional acceptance and healing from it. It triggered that eighteen year old in ways I was not prepared to handle.

Thank god for my therapist at that time.

7 Thoughts.

  1. I needed him to claim us, me and our daughter.

    THIS, Suz, is the core issue. It makes my heart ache.

    Even though I didn’t feel as deeply for my son’s father, never saw or had contact with him again after he tossed the pregnant me away… I get it.

    That lack of claim, of standing up for us, changed everything.

    (((HUGS))) for your bravery to go there.

    • Denise – I agree. I spent a long time dreaming about how much healing, how wonderful, how good I would feel if I had just claimed me. I felt so worthless that even he would not. Again, took me a long time to realize that act of not claiming us said far more about him than it did me, but wow, what a dream it was. Pretty powerful

  2. My adult relationship with my son’s father is the thing that gives me the most hope for my future. After all we went through, it is his forgiveness, his generous love, his fierce claiming of me and our son as family, however crazy we all are, well, it is the best thing. He is public in his claiming, everyone knows we have a grown son and everyone knows of his affection and respect for me and I feel so blessed, I don’t know what I would do without it.

    • Aimee – Thank you so much for sharing and for validating my point. I am so happy for you that you received that recognition. Hugs to both you and your sons father!

    • And I found it very powerful (and I will blog about this) how you said “his forgiveness”. I remember so vividly, breaking down and crying in front of my daughters father after I found her saying “I gave her away but I brought her back”. It was at that point I was so broken, so begging for that claim and that forgiveness. I feel differently about that now. I did not need his forgiveness. He was guilty of the same crimes I was.

      • *nod nod* I don’t have our full adoption story out on teh ‘nets anymore, but very briefly, my son’s father took us to court to stop the adoption, and lost (as much because he ran out of $$ for legal fees as anything). This was 1985. I wanted desperately to make it all stop, for us to keep our son, but the forces of my family, ugh, I was too afraid of my mother, basically. I never thought he would forgive me, never imagined it, but he has. He says I don’t need it, he says it’s as much his fault as mine. We were both so young. But whether I call it forgiveness or just loving acceptance of what happened, the fact that HE can accept and forgive makes me hope I can manage to forgive myself. Ykwim?

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