Father’s Day

You’re thinking I missed it. It was last month.

A couple of things happened this year around Father’s Day.

The week before Father’s Day, we came to the end of the probate process for my Adopted Father’s estate.

My family moved for the second time in eight months. This time including the stress of a closing.

On Father’s day, I was cleaning the empty apartment. I also read the first message from my oldest sister. She sent never before seen pictures of our dad, as she called him. It took my breath away. I sat on the toilet seat in my empty apartment and cried. Happy, heartbroken tears.

In the week after Father’s Day, I celebrated a milestone birthday. I also had my gas service turned off because of a leak. I got it fixed and was told my AC unit was freezing over, that was also the day the clothes washer started leaking.

The Friday after Father’s Day my almost youngest adopted sister and her kids came to visit. It was wonderful to have her here. I think North Dakota left a very favorable impression on her what with our fat raindrops, big beautiful sky, and bazillion shades of green. Also, the cousins adore each other and get along –  99% of the time, see this video in my previous post.

Father’s Day hasn’t been out of my thoughts this whole time. The joy of learning about my birth father from the kids that grew up with him battles constantly with the angst willed to me and my adopted siblings by the man who fostered us.


I posted this on my private Facebook Page for Mother’s Day.

This Mother’s Day is a little bittersweet. I finally know them both, but don’t have either.
For Vicky Sue, the beautiful girl who gave up so much, thank you for choosing life for me and hoping for brighter days. Thank you for not leaving me alone; he is a beautiful miracle in my life. You might smile if you knew it was your eldest granddaughter who was the final piece of the puzzle. She will only ever be a joy to me. I think you’d love the other three as well.
******, you were right about so many things (not everything 😜) thank you for doing the dirty work. Thank you for not giving up until you got what you wanted, all seven and then some. I love you, I miss you.
Happy Mother’s Day.




I could have posted on Father’s Day, I had the evening but not the words.

My two dads were born only six months apart. One in Chicago and one in Idaho. One was an only child, the other was raised like one, his next older sibling more than 12 years older than he. Basically, two very spoiled boys. They both had hazel green eyes and dark hair. They even used the same aftershave, Aqua Velva or Old Spice.  The more I learn, the more similar they become. That said, there are a few glaring differences.

John never knew about me.

Dad was on a field trip when he heard about my birth.

John was married four times.

My dad and mom were married to each other for almost sixty years.

Though he didn’t live with his kids, the pictures, stories, and memories of John are littered with laughter and love, camping trips, boating, swimming and bike rides.

When my siblings and I reminisce it’s always about the work. My dad was not a fan of leisure in any form,  at home. We worked together; potting trees, digging trees, weeding the garden, trimming trees, waiting on customers, potting in the greenhouses, watering the greenhouses, watering the potted trees, moving pipe, mowing, harvesting, canning food, gathering eggs, feeding pigs, feeding chickens, feeding lambs, feeding geese, feeding turkeys. When we did play, it was outside. The boys chased us with grasshoppers, threw gravel filled mud balls at us. When we screamed loud enough mom sent the boys to work with dad. I say, at home, because at his work as a geology teacher at a junior college he built himself quite a leisure schedule. He was known for his epic field trips into the surrounding National Parks and Forests. His classes frequently had waiting lists. At home, his wife and children also had waiting lists, of chores.

Though John divorced the mother of his children, he made himself a fixture in their lives and the lives of his grandchildren.

Two Christmases ago, after my mom had died, we got a huge box from my dad and his newly minted second wife. When we opened it on Christmas, there was a princess themed fleece blanket. The note sitting atop it said, For one of the girls. The youngest (10) claimed it and pulled it out of the box. Next was a Princess Sophia fleece blanket with the note, For the other one. The twelve-year-old was stuck with it. Under it was an Indian motif fleece blanket labeled, For Jacob. Well, one out of three isn’t too bad, right?

John’s third wife is still in friendly contact with his children, and their mom.

Dad’s second wife is busily stripping and selling off his and mom’s things from their retirement home because “He told me everything is mine to do with what I want.

John died in his sleep at his daughter’s house. Many tears were shed.

Dad died on the toilet of his retirement home. No one knows for sure when he died, he was found after midnight when his second wife’s son-in-law was sent to find him. I wonder if anyone cried? I imagine so, their meal ticket had just been punched for the last time. Now they were going to have to start paying for everything except the house out of their own pockets. It was probably buckets of tears when they realized.

So what do I say on Father’s Day? My Facebook post.

I didn’t post on Father’s Day this year, it felt too complicated. However, before June ends, I want to recognize and honor my birth father.
John was born in Chicago and grew up in Downey, California. He was a beloved father, a charming husband a few times over, and a playful grandfather. He died far too young but securely held in the love of his children.
He loved the ocean, boating, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving. His favorite day trip was out to Catalina Island. He was charismatic, funny, handsome and a dynamite salesman. I’ve been told he could sell you the pants you were already wearing. He had wit and a way with the spoken word. He got himself out of many a rough patch with that silver tongue. He could make you feel you were the smartest, funniest, most important, most loved person in the world.
It is believed that he knew nothing about me. Didn’t know I was born or adopted or that I existed. Even so, he has blessed me. Happy Father’s Day, John.

0 thoughts on “Father’s Day”

  1. Complicated, trying to sort out all of the feelings. A nice tribute to your birth father and to your mothers. It’s too bad the public persona of your adopted father was not the one he showed to you and your siblings.

    Now, for a technical issue… I usually read posts through WordPress Reader on my phone as they come up. I only saw this one through email since it is dated June 30 and so doesn’t appear in the recent posts in Reader. WordPress has told me that if you want a post to show up in the Reader timeline when you publish it instead of when you start it, you have to go into Status and schedule it for two minutes ahead of your current time when you publish. Weird and dumb, right? (I got them to fix one for me after publishing by having them change the date and then re-run the feed to insert it into the correct place in the timeline. But it took forever to get them to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it.)

  2. Sorry for the long delay in responding. This is a very moving post (I sympathize about complex insofar as I spent most of Father’s Day in the emergency room.) And the contrasts couldn’t be clearer. I’m struck by the patterns of obligation / unobligation between the two families and the way that love / good memories contradict those patterns. And I can’t believe someone would send a Xmas present without a name on it. Shame on them.

    1. I wasn’t going to write it But in the end I had to. I had to speak my part. I wrote the Facebook post and shared it with his three living children and asked them if they would mind if I put it on my Facebook page. Understanding that their experience may not have been exactly as I imagined him. And indeed one of them told me that for them it was a post about one little piece of him that they often didn’t get to see. That he often made plans with them and then wouldn’t show up and things like that. I don’t have any desire to hurt feelings or cause his kids any stress at all and they were and are very good to me. I thought it was really sweet of them to get behind me on my posting even to leave sweet comments on it on FB.
      Together, the four remaining of us have a lot of sorting to do when it comes to emotions and our shared father.

      The interesting part to me, we’re the vastly different paths these two men took. One man with several wives and divorces who died and is still to this day greatly missed by his children. Contrasting with the other man who stayed with one woman for all of their child rearing years but somehow managed to remain a complete stranger to his children. So much so that when his wife died the relationship with his children died with her.
      I think often about what you and your dad are going through right now. I find myself wondering how you’ll look back on this. I also hope that you’re requiring your brother to shoulder his fair share, something, typically, sisters are not very good at. Somewhere in the care taking of elderly strong willed parents there are a lot of really good lessons especially for boys to learn.

      1. My brother is doing most of the “boy stuff.” Moving things around, fixing things, stuff involving tools and cars and so on. Although I did learn how to mow using a riding mower. That was interesting. He just does not have the patience to go to all of these doctor appointments or to do the rehab with dad (he inherited impatience from dad; if you’re a woman you can’t afford that kind of inheritance). Will be interesting in September when (as currently planned) he and dad go on their annual fishing trip, to see how they interact.

        I don’t know how I will look back on this; I suppose some of it depends on how long it lasts. Right now something is changing every day (dad is making a good recovery despite his horrible attitude) but eventually he will plateau and at that point we will have to come to a new modus vivendi that lasts longer.

        1. I loved using the riding mower when I was a teen!
          You’re so right about the impatience, it’s a luxury men enjoy, then act offended when you call them on it.
          How long, indeed?

          1. I tried to learn when I was a teen; my failure back then was one of those hallmark moments in my relationship with my dad. This mower is so much easier, though — it turns right on and steers with two ski poles.

          2. I so appreciate not having to shift. I can’t even say. And the poles becomes intuitive after about 3 minutes.

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