That, my friends, is a lot of miles, but that is the number of miles we traveled between July 1st and July 7th.
So this post took longer to write/post because, well, 9 years is an awful long time to have to squish down into one blog post that doesn’t read like War and Peace (you will still need to carve some time out because it’s only about a chapter shy of War and Peace). I will sum the messy parts up a bit just so you get the gest of those 9 years – and it’s probably not going to be my best writing:
After my son was born, I went through the (not short) process of filing for child support against one of the potential fathers. The DNA test, which I requested, came back negative.
I went through the process on three separate occasions in the past against the second potential father, and, in consecutive order, I was told that (1) I didn’t respond to paperwork in a timely manner, so they closed the case, (2) they misplaced the paperwork, and (3) the computer ate it.
To say that I was disheartened after each negative response is an understatement.
In October, 2014, after not making any attempts to fill out the paperwork again for the fourth time in a few years, I started the process again, but this time was different. Paperwork never got lost or digitally eaten! Seriously, it was a miracle.
From the very early stages of my son’s life, I was able to forgive my son’s father for the response I received. I realized just how messed up I was at that point in my life, and, really, either of the potential fathers weren’t in any better shape at the time. But while I could forgive, that doesn’t mean that the hurt and disappointment weren’t there. They still very much were, I just chose to move on. I also decided to never say negative things against my son’s father to my son because I have had too many friends that were products of divorce, and seeing them go through that kind of pain was just not what I wanted for him.
After the DNA test results came back positive, I then told my son his father’s name. I never wanted to give him a name that wasn’t absolutely true. That would be unfair to him, and unfair to someone if I would have given him their name when it wasn’t the truth.
From that point, my son asked me a question that I will never, ever forget, because it showed his desire to want to KNOW his father. He has always wanted to know, and has prayed for his father since he was 2 years old, but now that he had a name, everything changed.
“Mommy, what do you think of him?”
He was looking for answers in big ways, and I couldn’t give those answers to him, so I answered him honestly.
“My love, I don’t know what to think of him. I haven’t been in contact with him for 9 years, and I know from just looking at my life, I’m a totally different person than I was back then, so I know he is a completely different person than he was back then, too. I do know that we need to make sure we are praying for him and his family, because this is kind of a big deal.”
My son gave me a thoughtful look, kissed me, and went on about his way.
After all the dust settled, my son’s father and I started talking. It was awkward, but as we communicated and got to know each other as we are now, it became less awkward. We got to know each other a bit, and as the conversation went, we started planning the meeting. All things considered, it was much easier for my son and I to go to California because that is where the majority of his father’s family is, and I found that his family wanted to meet my son…and even me.
After much love and support and prayer from friends, we flew out to California on July 1st.
It did my heart a lot of good to have my best friend and her kiddos meet us at the airport. While I was getting the rental car, another unexpected, but totally appreciated, visitor appeared: my son’s grandmother! My son and I had emailed back and forth with her prior to the trip, and both of us wanted to meet her. When I turned around and realized who she was, I just couldn’t help myself – I had to give her a hug.
The initial meeting with my son’s father and fiancée was a bit awkward, but I was determined to just be me. A quieter version of me, no doubt, but this was about my son and his father. They got a few minutes of one on one time to talk, and for that I am thankful.
The second day we were there, we went to the beach. I hadn’t been to the California coast in about twelve years; so to say that I was missing it was an understatement. My son and I ended up getting there a couple of hours before everyone else, but it was amazing to sit on the beach and take in the sights and sounds and smells and allow myself time to pray and be quiet. It definitely spoke to my soul. With this being my son’s first time to step food on a beach or in an ocean, I wanted to give him as much time to experience it as I could.
The third day we were there, as hard as it was for me, I let my son go to the zoo with his father and his older half brother…without me. Having been the one and only parent for so long, it was no easy task to drop him off and tell him that I would see him later, but I also realized that they needed time to be around each other and figure things out, and things went very well.
On July 4th, my son’s father’s family all gathered at his grandparent’s house and my son was asked to bless the food. My son loves to pray, but that was definitely outside of his comfort zone, so I was very proud of him for fighting through the anxiety and praying over the food and our time together. Time with his father’s family went well. I know there was plenty of high emotions still working themselves out, and, truly, I know there still are, but the time we got to spend with them was wonderful.
Until then, I hadn’t realized that some of the things that my son does, is very much something that other members of his father’s side of the family does. If anything, this was an enthralling social experiment: nature vs. nature.
On the final full day that we were there, we ended up in the mountains at a lake. The day was nice, and the water felt awesome and things started to feel a bit more relaxed. My son got more time to spend swimming and talking with his half-brother and father, and that made my heart glad. While the scenery and view were amazing, I had started missing Texas. Truthfully, I missed Texas from the second the wheels on the plane left the ground, but I was missing my home in a very deep way, so it was nice to see the mountains again, but I was looking forward to seeing home even more.
But on that last day in the mountains, as we were packing up and drying off, my son and his father were standing while the rest of us were sitting. Given that my son loves physical touch, I had actually wondered if he would initiate “unnecessary” physical contact with his father while we were there. Well, that question was answered that afternoon. My heart melted into a puddle as my son wondered over to his father and leaned against him, and his father responded by rubbing his back.
Where we are now
Well, we are now back in Texas, and happy to be home and back to a normal schedule. Summer is kind of boring around these parts, so my son spends his days reading and doing some basic continuing study so he doesn’t lose a lot of what he knows. But the communication between us and his father’s family continues.
I know for us, we are trying to find balance on keeping in touch, and I’m sure that’s very close to what is happening on the other end. It’s definitely a balancing act, but one that I am quite certain is worth it. While I know some hard questions will still be asked, I have no doubt that with lots of prayer and working things through, the bond of family will grow, and for that I couldn’t be more thankful.