When Captain Knuckle was just 6 weeks old, I made one last attempt to reconcile with my bio-dad. It was Christmas Eve day 1996 and I had stopped by his house with my now-ex husband. We went into my dad’s office there at the house in Orem – the one I grew up in, the one I spent all of my pregnancy with you in, the one to which I brought you home from the hospital. I stood by my bio-dad as he sat in front of his computer as he went on and on and on about our genealogy and our dead relatives. He started crying (oh man, it was an ugly, ugly cry) when he talked about his two sisters who died the day they were born and my sister Carolyn who had been killed in a car accident seven years before.
And he went on and on and on…
I stood there cradling my sweet little Captain Knuckle in my arms – both of us very real, very alive, and very much here and now, in the present. There I stood in the flesh….while my bio dad sobbed over dead people. At some point, hot tears slipped out of my eyes and I looked up from Captain Knuckle and said to him, “Dad, what about us? We are here with you right now. Do we matter to you too?”
He turned away from me and never answered.
I tell you this because the other night, I realized I had become my bio-dad.
Little Penelope was not sleeping well and so at around 3:00 a.m. I brought her downstairs to my office so she could play while I tried to work. Needless to say, dissertation writing at 3:30 a.m. with no sleep is hard work. Dissertation writing at 3:30 a.m. with no sleep and a squishy baby girl crawling around the office is impossible. I found myself surfing some LDS “adoption is a miracle and a blessing” blogs because believe it or not, I really do try to make an effort to understand both sides of the discussion. Let’s just say what I stumbled upon in the wee small hours of the morning was n.o.t. pretty.
Strewn here and there throughout various blogs’ comments, I kept finding buried references to this blog. Very few of them were accurate portrayals of the letters I write here but in spite of this, I could shake it off. After all, what do they really know of my heart? Of who I am truly am? Of what I have accomplished or become in my life? They read maybe one blog entry, formed their (incorrect) opinion of me and then merrily skipped along, blissful and happy with their fabulously perfect adoptions.
Then I started finding comments written by some of the women who have occasionally visited this blog and those comments were…uh…how do I put this nicely without calling them very ugly words and truly sounding like I am angry, bitter, and lashing out?
Hmmm…I can’t seem to find a way to do that.
Let me just say these “sisters” in the gospel know exactly who they are and I hope as they read this letter, their face grows red with shame and their conscience (if they have one) pricks their heart (if they have one). So just for them, here’s the angry, lashing out version of Melynda: Ladies (if I can even call you that) I hope your duplicitous, self-righteous, covetous, narrow-minded, avaricious, deceitful, spiteful behavior comes back to you seven times seventy fold. You deserve every bit of bad karma that comes your way. /lashing out
So there I was, 3:30 a.m. with little Penelope playing at my feet, occasionally crawling over for a quick hug and a kiss before she crawled away again to conquer the pile of blocks or shred more magazines. I was angry and I was about to have a “come to Jesus meetin’ “ with all those lovely two-faced women. If there is one thing you don’t do it is piss off the pointy-head and trust me – the pointy-head was pissed. off. Frothing at the mouth and ready to use every bit of intellectual acumen to shred every single one of them type of pissed off. Rarely do I use my intellect to severely upbraid or censure someone but they were all about to be upbraided in a way they have never been upbraided before.
I started to do it too. Oh how I unleashed the pointy-head. Words flew from my fingers at the speed of light. I quoted scientific studies from refereed journals, articles, scriptures, prophets and apostles, hymns, literature – you name it, I used it to completely dismantle their argument about the “miracle and blessing” of infant adoption. I was on a roll and it was filled with righteous anger – it was full of truth and raw honesty – no sugar coating it or trying to play nice. The gloves were off and I was taking no prisoners.
About 20 minutes into the clickety-clacking of my response, Penelope crawled up to me for another snuggle and a kiss. I was the tiniest bit irritated that she was bothering me when I was on such a roll but I never turn down a snuggle from my children so I reached down and lifted her up. Her warm body melted into me, her head resting on my shoulder and her heart beating next to mine. And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I have turned into my bio-dad.
I realized I have been chasing a ghost daughter. I realized that the hot, heavy tears I wept that night for you were for an intangible daughter who was just as gone from my life as my beloved older sister who passed away 2 ½ years before you were born.
I had been weeping for a daughter who has no need for me while right here in front of me is a daughter very much alive, and very much in need of me here and now – and not in some hypothetical sense. She has two older brothers who deserve all of me too – they are just as real and alive in my life as Penelope. There is no mistaking they need my time, attention, and love in very tangible and applied ways.
In that moment, I decided to close my blog to the prying eyes of people who have been coming here merely to “watch a train wreck” they “can’t turn away from.” These letters were never about or for anyone other than you. Frankly, those kinds of people do not deserve to witness my life or my feelings. I will no longer cast my pearls before swines.
While I do not regret publishing these 190+ letters over the past three years and will cherish the friends it has brought to me, I am not wasting one more single precious moment of my life or Princess P’s life or Captain Knuckle or the Professor’s life responding to baseless attacks against my character from blissful birth mommies and overjoyed adopters simply because I am speaking my truth. I am choosing to focus on other things.
I will keep writing. It’s what women like you and I do. If our DNA was ever unraveled, they would find a novel instead of the normal base pairs. Women like you and I, we write because we breathe. We breathe because we write. If I should pass before you find this blog, I have given the password to Jeff so he can give it to you. He is planning on sticking around until he is at least 100 so hopefully he will remember where I wrote it down. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but let’s face it—accidents happen, disease can be swift, and none of us is immune to death and the vicissitudes of life.