Nay_ho_tze's Medicine Musings

Nay_ho_tze and JJD
Nay_ho_tze and JJD
Nay_ho_tze and JJD

Father’s Day - 
maybe, maybe not ...
at the least: a firstborn's POV and questionable DNA**

it has always been for someone else’s father that i celebrated -
the landlady's husband, the father of my children, his father …
i own not a single memory celebrating Father’s Day with my own father
(or, at least the one they told me was my father) -- being a navy man, a single father, he tried to visit twice yearly, but holidays rarely align with personal leave ... so our relationship consisted of hopefully twice-yearly visits with me who was otherwise in the care of the landlady

And how i adored him! he was my hero! i existed to see him again -
i spent my second, third, fourth year
waiting for the sea to bring him back to me -

and i'd asked the adults for a very long time, is daddy coming today?
until one day frustration demanded that i “not ask that anymore” –
my question may have been silenced, but i kept on waiting …

and then paradox of paradoxes when he would arrive:
i was so very intensely shy
that just thinking of the livingroom where he sat 
brought breathless, heart-racing panic -

but i'd manage to hide myself behind the couch he was on -
and inevitably i would hear the landlady say,
‘no, you mustn’t go get her – she has to get over being shy –
she’ll come out on her own eventually!’

truth is that’s all i wanted, needed – my father to come get me …
i was in torturous hell, frozen into paralysis 
being so close to him, hearing his voice, smelling the sea, 
all the while my brain screamed run to him,
yet i could not move a single muscle …

i remember once it took me 3 days of a 5 day visit …
it was a rude awakening to the illusion of time 
and how it can steal what does not exist  …
i was three

shortly after i started first grade, unbeknownst to him,
his new wife decided i should live with them;
he was not happy -

six years later, he sent me back to the landlady –

it was supposed to be temporary –

he’d come into hard times, 
having been recently laid off, 
and then the car wreck, his wife newly pregnant (#3)
all this had happened in a matter of weeks -

i was 10, old enough to understand the implications ...
so when he asked if i’d like to visit the landlady 
just until he got back on his feet, maybe a couple months, he said,
i trusted him – and i agreed – 

destiny can be so cruel

later that day, in Boston’s North Station,
the landlady had a different story –
i was told that while i was en route, a conversation between her and my father had established new rules, and that they involved adoption –
and that i was to agree right then and there -
or else i had to be returned immediately to my father – 
helluva decision for a 10 year old –
i knew i was an extra mouth for him to feed – 
i ‘accepted’ the arrangement when permission to write him was granted
of course, you can write to him

adoptions, even when insidious connections speed things up 
and even bypassing legal requirements altogether,
adoptions take time  –
and during that period i wrote to my father every day –
after all his daughter is a writer; so what else would she do?
he never wrote back ever …

in my 30s he and i had an unexpected, awkward and brief encounter –
out of the blue (because i had no intention of bringing it up), 
my father asked me why i’d never responded to any of his letters  -
shocked, i asked him the same about my own letters,
before recognizing destiny again -:
the landlady had obviously intercepted all our letters –
that’s why she always offered to mail my letters to him -
conveniently incoming mail was delivered before school let out –

intercepted letters, i tried to explain to my father,
but i know he didn’t believe me –
i know he died convinced i had rejected him –
when in truth it was his own guilt over his firstborn’s lot
which had blinded him to a daughter's unconditional love

…how did i find out he’d crossed?
the internet when one night his obituary, dated 6 months earlier,
just popped up on my screen -

he'd crossed right before the previous Christmas ...
apparently he'd died ‘surrounded by his family decorating the tree.’
list of survivors was incomplete 

like James Taylor,  i guess i always thought i’d get to see him again 

©2014, 2019, 2023

**note- since 2014  genealogical information seems to suggest that my father may not be my father at all ... unfortuately DNA testing is the only way to know for sure, but this old NDN woman feels much the same way about DNA testing as she has long felt about cameras pointed in her direction and interrupting her privacy *shrugs*