Recently in our bible study we were talking about attachment styles and how they are formed as children and carried out through our adulthood. There are SEVERAL and I mean SEVERAL books, research, studies, etc. about attachment disorders in adopted children. So this has always been on our radar, we just don’t know if it will ever have an effect on Jackson.
And so you would think this post is about Jackson and adoption, you are wrong. This post is about me. This is going to be a little “off” topic but also very relatable to parenting, adoption and our story.
I know I have mentioned before that this year has probably been one of the hardest in my adult life. Well, let me explain one of the main reasons that is. I know I have also mentioned that I did not have the “typical’ upbringing most children would dream of. In fact, both of my parents were alcoholics and not exactly present. My mom, thankfully, became sober, my biological father on the other hand, to my knowledge never has. And I say to my knowledge because it has been roughly 10 years since I have seen him. (And that is a whole other blog post)
I spent years and I mean years, wanting that perfect Daddy/daughter relationship. Trying to force it to happen as a young child. I remember seeing one of my closest friends interact with her dad (who is a pretty cool dude!) and having this longing inside of my heart for that kind of relationship. The reality was, I was never going to have that. At least not with my biological dad and probably wouldn’t have that kind of relationship with my step-dad either. I didn’t know it at the time but my biological father simply did not know how to be a parent, at least not the kind of parent I needed.
Which brings me to the hard part, well sort of brings me there (sometimes, I get long winded!). My mom met the person I now call dad when I was in the 3rd grade. If you ask either one of them how long they have been together their respective answers will most likely be “long enough!” Somewhere along the way I asked my mom about calling him dad, or some version thereof. So we settled on Daddy D (his first name starts with D). And so that is where it started. He helped me with my homework, drew artwork with me as a kid, went to my basketball games, taught me how to drive, walked me down the aisle and recently took up running with me. All those things a “dad” was supposed to do. And then this year he had a heart attack while running a 10k.
For some reason I missed the 2 other calls from my mom that morning but my husband finally picked up the call on the 3rd call. I knew it wasn’t good just from the sound of his voice. I am not sure I have cried that hard in my life nor am I sure we have ever drove so fast in my life. There were so many unknowns about his “status” when we arrived. Well that was after an incredibly nice doctor helped me get to the right place (I very much dislike hospitals and dislike large hospitals even more). I think he took pity on me when he saw me standing at the elevator just staring, not having a single clue as to where I was going.
I never once told the nurses this is my step-dad, and technically, he isn’t even that. Because for some reason my darn parents won’t get married! He was and is my dad, period, the end of it. And recently when he sent me a text on my birthday, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Just how incredibly thankful I was that he was alive (because for 10 minutes he was dead) to wish me happy birthday but more importantly that he was there for me all these years, when he didn’t have to be.
I may suffer from some sort of attachment issues, but let me tell you this experience has changed me in ways I didn’t know I needed to be changed. In fact for days, weeks, probably at least a month, I called every single day to make sure he was doing ok. It was almost comical, that the roles were reversed and I was checking in on him. Almost comical, because at 32 I wasn’t ready to lose either one of my parents.
Here is the ultimate thank you to my Daddy D. Thank you for the minutes, the days, the weeks, the months, the years you were there for me. That you chose to stay. At the hospital we laughed and talked about why in the heck you chose to stay and said if it were any of us we would have walked away, heck we would have ran away! But you chose to stay. And I could not be more thankful that God chose to let you stay with us a little longer. Now, get back to running!!!