It's been a year of learning and growing. Last year at Thanksgiving, my husband bought us 23andMe genetic tests. We sent them off with anticipation of perhaps learning more about my Dad. You see, he walked out of the picture when my mom got pregnant. They were in the Air Force and as the story goes, he didn't want to be a dad so he left.
Last winter, with the genetic tests pending and my mom's health failing, she started to open up. I got the tests back and made contact with a cousin. I went to visit my mom and she took out her trunk which she had not opened in fifty years. I think I can actually remember the last time she was in that trunk putting something away there. Perhaps my old doll we found was that last addition.
We read through old yearbooks, dug through treasures and read letters she found from my dad. Her memory of that time is gone. It was a challenging time of her life and she closed the door and walked away. In reading the letters, we learned they were in love. There was even a letter from his mother to my mom telling how excited she was to have my mom be part of their family.
But something happened. My mom doesn't remember. But by the time she was three months pregnant, she was on her way home to live with my grandparents. She and my grandmother created a story to make her coming home acceptable to my grandfather and the rest of their world. My mom had gotten married but when she got pregnant so early in the marriage my dad had walked out. That was the story I grew up with.
In my 40's my mom came clean about the basics of the story. But the romantic story we found in those letters put a whole different spin on the events surrounding my conception.
I was born in 1958. There was one letter, written in 1962 from my dad to my mom. Except for one line about me, the letter was really rude. He wanted to know if she was still fat. Of course, he'd still love her, but it would be great if she would lose the weight. I asked her if she'd responded to the letter and she said no. By the time she'd received that letter, she had gone back to school and created a life for us that had no place for him.
The one line in the letter said, "Tell Debbie I love her." My birth name was Debra Lee. I changed it in my 30's to Victoria Debra. Tell Debbie I love her. I never knew. I grew up my whole life not knowing. I thought he didn't want me. The truth is, he didn't want me enough to come to find us, to actually meet me. But he'd reached out. That was the last contact.
My dad is gone now. And my mom will be in a matter of months. Their story is over. But for me, the change of that one line is slowly percolating in my psyche. He loved me.
What do I need to unlearn in order to become who I am meant to become? I need to unlearn that I wasn't lovable. That I wasn't enough for a dad to want me. He loved me. I am lovable and I am enough.
Often the stories we tell ourselves about our life either aren't true or don't have all the information. Learning the truth can be freeing. You are lovable. You are enough.