I know it’s hard to believe that I could have anymore to reveal. But sadly, I do. The one thing I want you to keep closely in mind is that I’m no longer trapped in the life I write about. I write about that former life as a way to heal and God willing, to help someone else.
So the next fragment of my childhood stems over a period of 1st grade through 11th grade. This portion, I believe, was most impactful towards my abusing drugs and alcohol.
Back to that same trailer, where I was being fed Jack Daniel’s in the name of “Look what my kid can do.” There were memories there that are so vivid and confusing. I remember my mom showing me a photo album. In that album was a picture of my father standing next to another man about the same age and height. She would point to that other man and tell me, “Amy, that man is your father. He’s your real dad.”
This was said to me as she was drunk. The lights were low, the air was cloudy and the music was going (as always). I’d ask her the next morning about the picture and she would say, “I was just kidding around” or something to that affect. Her reaction, I remember, was as if I did something wrong by even asking. Now looking back, I’d say she was mad at herself but directed it towards me.
I don’t remember having a huge reaction to any of this. I don’t remember crying or yelling at her that it wasn’t true. My guess is that it probably was said to me many times as a child that it became a game of sorts to me. Also this was attention from her to me, so I gobbled it up.
Time would pass after that and I would get passed around as her addiction took her down many times. (Which I’ll write about later) By the 5th grade or so, we got to choose to live with our dad and that’s where we ended up. Seldomly she’d take us on the weekend. Which entailed us watching her party. This particular weekend I went with her alone. She didn’t have her own place so we went to where she hung out a lot. I remember being in the livingroom watching TV when she called me into the kitchen and had me sit on her lap. Makes me wonder if I weren’t a bit younger than 5th grade. But like I said, there was so much instability that it’s hard to place my age in most events.
She then told me that my dad wasn’t my real father. That his friend “B” was my father. I guess I didn’t believe her at first, how could I? We played this game before. But her good friend walked into the room and asked what was going on and she told her friend, “I’m finally telling Amy the truth” the friend seemed to know what that meant and I realized this wasn’t a game anymore. I remember that moment. I don’t remember the rest of that night. Did I lay awake and cry? Did I continue to think on it as a joke?
The next morning I remember it was time to take me back to Dad’s.
Home wasn’t a word for me as I lived always somewhere else never having that home feeling.
She drove me in a black car. She told me we were going to drive by his house. This man that was my real father. I told her no I didn’t want to, but she said we’d just drive by. Next thing you know, we’re pulling into the driveway. At this time I remember begging her to leave but she said we we’re just turning around. Then she was out of the car and going to the door! She and a man walked back to the car. This was “B” this stranger that I had seen in photographs as a child. This is supposed to be my father. They both stood at the passenger window as she said to him, “I told her” and they spoke. I looked down at my lap the whole time. He didn’t make an effort to speak to me. He didn’t kneel down to my level and even try. Maybe he was doing me a favor since I wasn’t being very open to the idea. Funny that my regret at that time was I didn’t look up. I didn’t have the courage. Not sure what looking up would do, really. That moment was when it all became real to me. And it hurt. I felt like I was betraying the father I knew all along by being where I was at that moment. My dad that I knew as my father, was my refuge. He was my oasis. He was my rock and he was the only one who treated me close to how a little girl should be treated. And now he would be gone too.
The next memory is of me laying on a mattress or couch in the livingroom at my dad’s house. Where I lived at that time. He came in from work and asking my sister why I was crying. She told him what our mom had said and did. His answer was “Oh that.” So it was true and he knew it. This wasn’t a game. I wish he had hugged me and told me the things I needed to hear. But he didn’t. I believe he retreated to his own space.
The “dad” thing wouldn’t get talked about after that day but a handful of times. And not in the way a girl needs to be talked to about it. It was comments from my mom’s mom, “Well you look just like your father, that other man isn’t your real father” Just things like that.
Fast forward to high school. I still don’t know at this time and that bond I always had with my dad was there but it was fragile because the thought was always there…maybe he’s not my dad to maybe he is. I would see “B” at McDonald’s on my lunch hour during high school. I don’t think he knew it was me but I knew it was him. I would tell my friends who he was in the hopes they could help me feel better about it, but they weren’t equipped to help me.
At about 16 years old I had enough. I was bolder and by then could speak up for myself. I asked if we could get a blood test done.
Do you remember my last post I wrote how I remember being in the car with both my parents at the same time only a few times? The day we went to get our blood drawn was one of those days. Looking back, I don’t know why she had to come, but she did. Her blood didn’t need to be drawn. The results came through the mail a good six weeks later. I opened them. My dad, my oasis, my rock was indeed my real father!
“B” to this day doesnt know whether I’m his daughter or not. There are times I think I should find him and drop him a letter to let him know. There are other times the thought is, he didn’t come after me. See, I mailed him a letter of two before I knew the results. He had a chance and he didn’t take it. Kind of a weird feeling being let down and not even found by someone who should want to find you whether they knew or not. Bottom line is none of it was my fault so it’s not my responsibility to fill him in. What do you think? What would you do?
I would later find out that my mother gave me my middle name after “B’s” mother! Can you believe that? A woman she believed to be my grandmother who never was…I was named after her. The Jerry Springer Show couldn’t come up with stuff this crazy!
The totality of all of these events and feelings kept getting shoved down further and further. I drowned them in alcohol and drugs. Once I became sober, these feelings and realizations would slowly drift up and I inevitably dealt with them. Are they gone? No. Do they hurt from time to time? You better believe it. But God………
He brought me out. He became my Father. My earthly father is still in my life. I can’t say he’s the best at what he does but I do try to remember that he was equally hurt at the hand of an addict and quite possibly a sociopath. Pawns in a game. Not all addicts are out to hurt and lie and destroy their loved ones. Some just want what they think they need and stop at nothing to get it. The case here goes beyond that.
So if I were you reading this, I’d be fuming and tsk-ing away. You may even think to yourself that I have a right to rise above and look down on my mother. But honestly? My biggest struggle every day is that I want to forgive her. I want to be like Jesus. I want to love her and excuse her. But I can’t. I have grasped forgiveness for a season. And I’ll be so sure I’m there. I’ve arrived at forgiving…until I get a call. Until I smell a smell. Or see a juice glass. Hear a song from way back when. And I begin all over again.
So what do you think lesson #2 is? Lesson #2 is two-fold. One is- forgiveness is not something that is done but is something we’re always doing. Two: Jesus is my parent. My brother. My sister. My rock. My oasis. And most importantly He is my home! God bless you for reading.