I’ve decided not to meet my surrendered daughter right now.
In short, I’m not ready.
It was supposed to have happened already, but I never set a date. And I’m more than okay with that. Relieved actually.
Because, at one point, I felt like an aluminum can on a NASCAR track: emails from her then the mother, then the mother again, and again, then her. I was all: holy fuck this is moving way too fast for me. Must. Slow. Down.
Each message had one goal: meet now.
And I was all: meet later.
I’m liking things at a distance right now and I never thought I would feel like this. Never.
Whether this decision is right or wrong is of no consequence. It is what it is.
Then part of me is very Nike about the whole thing: Just Do it.
Which may be the guilt, but she’s so far away and enigma-like that it doesn’t overwhelm me and I can push it down. Way down. Abyss down. Barely even think about it down.
Except her birthday is right before Thanksgiving.
So it’s there.
Under the surface.
Like a whale. Not an elephant.
It’s the expectation of it all. The fairy tale. And we all know fairy tales don’t exist. I — as she has imagined me — do not exist.
I used to think, until I met one particular person, that my life was — and excluding my 15th year and concealed pregnancy — pretty normal. And then I realized it’s been anything but and the people who, at the time, I surrounded myself with had it hard too: abusive fathers, crazy mothers, sexual abuse, abortions, drug use, dead friends, no opportunity.
And then I heard a smidge of pity.
Which is where the haves and the have-nots divide.
I actually heard it divide when I told my friend that not only did I know a heroin addict, I used to date one, and he, for a time, was a prostitute. After we dated.
And there were two more that I knew and died. Before I turned 23.
I ate, which meant I didn’t drug.
I just happened to be friends with some really fucked up people. And, by extension, I looked normal until normal came walking through the door.
Look, if you want your life to appear exciting, find a world traveler from an ivy league school and call it a day. Then re-think every day before it.
I remember thinking: I’m pretty certain I was just pitied.
Because that is not — at all — how I see myself, my life, or my choices. Actually, you have to have fallopian tubes of steel to hand over a child and carry on. Regardless of what came before or after it.
The pity party made me re-evaluate what holes I need to bust in the fairy tale; which is pretty much all of them. I want to correspond. Work up to meeting. Find a way to lessen — even if it’s by 1% — the pressure of not knowing each other and yet fully knowing one another at the same time.
Warts and all.