Nature versus Nurture

Here’s a little narrative about my “biological” father; someone I’ve never given much thought to let alone write about before.  It’s important that I put “biological” in front of the word father because I don’t want to confuse one with the other.  I was raised and adopted by a man I call my father, or more commonly – dad.  I never met my biological father.  The opportunity has passed since he himself recently passed.  What do I feel about that?    Nothing.

Is it strange to feel nothing at all for someone you have never met and never had any desire to meet?  Or is it stranger still to never have had any desire to meet the co-creator of ones physical self?

Here are the few things that I have been told about him.

  1. He was very good looking.  Ridiculously so.
  2. He used to hit my mother.  He usually hit her in places that would not show any marks. The last time was when I was a month old.  He hit her so hard she fell backwards into the bathtub.  Then she took me and left and never went back.
  3. His mother was an alcoholic which, not surprisingly, seems to have had a deep negative effect on him.
  4. He had no respect for women and the more they swooned over him, the more he was repulsed by them.
  5. He had been married once before he met my mother and had two small children from that marriage.  They both lived with him and my mother when I was born.
  6. He had many more relationships with many more women and many more children resulted.
  7. He was a sports photographer.
  8. He also took pictures of young girls and went to jail for it.
  9. He refused to sign off for my adoption until the lawyer suggested he would have to pay all the child support he owed, and then he quickly signed.
  10. His first name was Doug.  I’ve been told his last name dozens of times but I can never remember it.

Of course, all of what I have been told has come from my mother.  The part about him going to jail came from my mothers sister (not the most reliable source but I’ve never doubted the story), who told my mother who then told me.  I have never had any feelings, good or bad, regarding anything I was ever told about him.  He was a stranger and obviously not a very nice man.  I have always felt like he was just a character in a story…not real.  Not real to me.  There would be no romantic fantasies about meeting him one day.  When I was angriest at my parents, mostly as a teenager, I never once imagined that I should run off and live with him instead.

There was one time, and I believe I was already well into my 30’s when this happened: During an argument, my mother accused me of giving her a cold look the way “he” used to.  I had never before heard anyone suggest that I resembled him in any way.  I’ve always looked a lot like my mother.  Angrily, she blurted out that I was like him in that I could shut down emotionally and become very cold.  Well that comment stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking.  And probably not the way she had hoped.  I wondered if there may have been a whole different side to all of the stories I’d heard about him.  I had always felt that my mother was overly dramatic and extravagant, even reckless in the way she expressed her emotions; lots of tears and yelling etc.; it always made me uncomfortable.  I don’t believe I’m cold but I guess compared to her and from her perspective I could appear so at times.  I may look like my mother but we are very different in many ways.

It dawned on me then that all the information I’d ever learned about this man had come from only one person.  From someone who sees the world very differently than I do.  And so, for a minute or two, I wondered if there was perhaps a little more to this stranger, perhaps there were some ways in which he and I may have been alike.  But then I also realized that it didn’t really matter to me either way.  As Popeye would say “I yam what I yam”. He was still a stranger and I still had no desire to know him.  Does that make me cold? Or realistic?  I’d like a second opinion please.

As I’ve grown older I have wondered whether there may have been any important medical history I should have been aware of but then really, what good would that do?  If there is or if there isn’t heart disease on his side for example, I’m still striving to live a good clean healthy life either way.

So I guess in my case, score one for nurture over nature.  All of my life’s experience, including never meeting this man, has made me into who I am today and I think I’ve turned out ok.  Even my mother would agree…I think.  😉

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Old Souls

As soon as you look into their eyes, it’s obvious that some souls have been here before.  I met an old soul about 14 years ago when she was only 7.  She always had something unique to say.  She was a typical 7 year old on the outside but inside this little girl was someone I sensed had a great deal of knowledge.  I met her for a reason and knew it right from the very first moment.Kels

Quite often we would come home and find notes on our door with suckers taped to them.  She knew it would make us smile.  The suckers were the 7 year old coming out, but the words, printed perfectly in the note, were not those of child.  She was aware.

Our friendship grew over the years as did she.  She became busy with school and I with a new baby.  I thought of her often.  I would sit and imagine what she would be like as a teen or in her twenties.  I finally saw her at 16.  She was the same little girl just in a bigger body.  She was already an old soul so she was only able to change physically to me.

We had a chance meeting years later at a coffee shop where she worked.  We had eye contact that day but I was distracted after arriving very late for a coffee date with some friends.  She was too nervous to say anything because so much time had passed by.

We eventually found one another again.  It was very emotional.  I had a connection with this old soul that I could not explain.  She felt the same.  We wrote emails back and forth for weeks, each one bringing a tear to my eyes.  This little girl was now a young woman who knew exactly who she was from deep inside her heart.  I realized I had to look at her as an individual with no age attached.  It was hard at first, me being twice her age.  I was confused about the role of my friendship.  Was it a mother daughter friendship or a girlfriend?  7 years old at heart

She met both my kids and they instantly fell in love with her!  How could they not, she was still a 7 year old at heart, but had the wisdom of a fully evolved human being.  She recently sent me an email, and coming from a 23 year old it has to make you wonder if there are angels here on earth….

Quote:

“It has taken me a very long time to learn that people are always going to forget what I say, in fact, they will even forget what I do, but something they will never forget is how I made them feel.  I have grown to realize that my strength in helping others doesn’t come from the things I say or do, but rather from creating a feeling inside their hearts that will be forever lasting.  I said things to you today that you might never remember, I did things today that perhaps you have already forgotten, but if I caused a feeling in your heart that was unforgettable then I have done what I needed to do…….A simple hug can mean so much more then just an embrace between two bodies.  Today, mine was meant to allow my soul the chance to greet yours….our souls will forever be friends.’   KelseyKelsey

I believe you meet people for a reason.  Their age means nothing.  You connect for many different reasons on many different levels.  Each one should be embraced.  This friendship has changed not only my life, but my family’s life.  There is a circle of friendship here that was meant to be. I am forever grateful for this old soul in joining my family.

.Tracy

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