Me and my Dad connected in first week of March, its been six months so far. Uptil the past couple of weeks, he has told me he loves me in every email, for the past six months. He started saying it abruptly and he stopped abruptly.
Everyone around me, who is close to me, and knows about us has differing opinions. Both best friends are divided over whether he really is committed to me or not. Aunty says he will never have the guts to put himself up for scrutiny and review and possible defamation by disclosing my existence to people. P thinks I am expecting too much from a relationship which is not really that deep. He is very suspicious of anyone who says I love you on a regular basis. Yes, I have married a guy who is in touch with his emotional side ;))
Well anyways, what do I think.....what does that little voice inside me say? It says time to back off. We are both clearly at different places in our lives. His presence loomed in my life ever since 19xx, when I was born. All through my childhood, when I had to answer people's questions over and over - Are you and M twins? (even though there is no resemblance between us), How were you born in March and she in June and you share the same birth year?. When I told people over and over, ever since I was a young child, my parents are divorced, my mother's sister adopted me, they are my parents. Over and over, he was there, indirectly. I have grown up acknowledging his presence.
On the other hand, since 19xx when he walked away from the hospital after meeting me, I ceased to exist for him. He got married, had his own daughter (first born?) and son, had a brilliant career, went on with his life. He didnt have to answer to anyone or admit his divorce and acknowledge he had a child. For 34 long years, until I reached out. Maybe it is too soon. Maybe I cannot and should not expect him to be able to have the courage and the will to stand up and say - this is my daughter. But he doesnt and will not, and it does hurt me deeply.
For six months, I have watched us. Our relationship has not proceeded forward. Yes, he has repeatedly said how much he loves me, how he is never going to let me go from his life ever but at the same time he wants his routine life to proceed undisturbed.
He had gone to visit his old father - probably in his nineties, who said he thinks of me often. But did Dad say "We are in touch, she is doing well", No, he kept quiet and walked away annoyed with him. I see no inclination to take our relationship to the next level.
And I have been ignoring all the signs in my naivety. He has referred to me as his pen friend, has hastily told me not to put P on the line when we were scheduled to talk for the first time, has simply said he missed me in the picture when I sent him a photo of R and S rather than saying how beautiful are your daughters....countless small things which all say "I only care about you, I want nothing to do with the others in your life, and it doesnt matter if they are the ones you care about the most, intimately" and I will always be his pen friend. Someone to email to, when he has the wish and desire. An adoring willing audience to tell his anecdotes to, someone to turn to when he feels emotional and to say how much he loves me. But the fact remains that he doesnt have the wish or the courage to step up and go further. We were still limited to emails, we are still. I cannot call him when I wish to. We have to plan phone calls when he travels, and is away from his family, alone in his hotel room. We have no idea where to meet and how. I am pretty sure we will end up meeting in a restaurant in Mumbai where the risk of bumping into people he knows is pretty low. How would we meet in Pune? What would he say to people who stop by? Who am I? He doesnt have the guts.
I shouldnt blame him. The fact remains that he didnt reach out to me. I did. After four long years of thinking in the back of my mind. I was ready for this. He was caught by surprise. And then he has 34 years of catching up to do. We are at different places.
It is needlessly causing me pain. When two people in any relationship are not on the same page, that relationhip gets fraught with tension and insecurity. I have to readjust my expectations, open my eyes and wake up to reality, not hope and dream for impossible things. Remember that dialogue from some movie - Sapney dekhne chahiye, unki poori honey ki sharth nahi rakhni chahiye. Reach for the moon and you can grab the stars atleast. I had this vision of being reunited with my birth father and here I am, we are in touch over emails. It doesnt matter that my dream is not realised in the manner I wanted it to. It is realised in a different way. We went from complete strangers to being in touch. Thats a big step.
But now its time to let go. I can no longer torture myself by waiting for his emails, getting frustrated over why he cannot convince/explain his feelings to his wife and children, why they cannot be more accepting of our relationship, why we cannot go a step further in our relationship, why we are not at a point where I can pick up the phone and talk to him, simply because I miss him....there are many whys and no answers. Its time to let go and stop hurting myself.
I will not wait for his emails. I will not make him "Important person #..." right next to my family and close friends. I will not put him on my priority list. He is a reunited father. If he writes, well and good, I will reply back. If he doesnt, thats fine too. The whole point of my reaching out was to talk to him atleast once in my life so that when I am old, I do not regret never knowing my birth father. Thats accomplished, everything else is a bonus. Real life doesnt always have happy endings, it seldom does. Maybe he will regret his behavior and inability to strengthen our bond, when he gets older. Thats his problem. You can never turn back the clock, never erase the past and start all over again. I will not have any regrets. I tried, succeeded a little, failed a little. But now its time to let go.
I was never in a relationship with anyone but can now imagine the pain of a broken heart, of unmet expectations. It is not easy to let go, especially when you had to make such a big effort to hold on in the first place. Its like I had four years to muster up the courage to write to him, to open my heart and now I need to retract again.
All this also made me realise an ugly side of myself. Human beings always want what is not theirs, out of their reach, unattainable. I have spent my life denying my birth mother, her birth mother privileges. I have spent my entire childhood, wishing away the uncomfortable awkward divorcee child image, wanting to pretend I was born to my parents and I had a normal family. And here I am, trying to force an unwilling birth father to step up and accept his birth father responsibilities. Why? Really, you do not value what you have, sometimes.
I need to let go. Now if I can only find a way to ease the pain....Do I regret reaching out? No, I dont. I wanted to know him. It would have been nice if we had a happy ending but we dont necessarily have a bad ending. He wants to stay in touch. Its not necessary that both of us share the same thoughts on what staying in touch means. He is satisfied with emails, I wanted more. I have to step back and meet him where he is. And let go...
Pray for me, pray that God will give me courage to be strong and level headed and understand that people stand at different places, at different points in time. No need to be staunchly black and white and either cut him loose or hold on tight. There is a middle ground. And while its so easy to hate or love someone, its extremely difficult to pace your emotions and to stay uniform.
Six months of learning, six months of a life lesson...