Photo: Marnie and her dad.
“I was looking forward to connecting with my father but had no idea what it would feel like…” I wish I’d found him sooner. I was incredibly blessed to be reunited with my father after almost 40 years without him. My father left when I was 14 months old and the only memories I had of him were watching him on television (he was a professional bowler), and leafing through a scrapbook that my mother vindictively threw away. I spent my whole life longing for him. I was certain that he was my knight in shinning armor, and if I found him he’d rescue me from my abusive mother. There were times I wanted to lash out at him; times I was so angry that I wanted him to pay for abandoning me. But more than anything, I really just wanted — needed — him to love me. “I spent my whole life longing for him.”He was never far from my thoughts. I knew who he was; I knew he was remarried with a new family including two children. I knew I had two siblings from his first marriage and I was the middle child from the middle marriage. Little did I know that he was living with his new family a few blocks away from my aunt’s home where I spent part of my summers. I walked by the house on my way to the park almost daily. Part of my father’s decision for leaving me behind was rooted in the belief that my mother cheated on him and I wasn’t actually his child. My father requested a DNA test before he’d speak with me. After what seemed an eternity, the results came in and my phone rang. I answered the phone, a lump in my throat hearing my father’s voice for the first time in memory. I knew instantly in hearing my father’s voice that the results were positive. I made the 25-hour drive from Florida to the Laurentien Mountains where my father and stepmother’s home was, anticipating the un-anticipatable. I was looking forward to connecting with my father but had no idea what it would feel like. I felt his love but I wasn’t counting on it to continue. We pulled up and there were hugs, long embraces, and joyous tears abound. It was a movie scene directed by the purity of love, and this is what I learned from it all.
MARNIE GRUNDMAN OCTOBER 3, 2015