the day I met the person who gave me my blue eyes

Thursday, May 14

"We should go meet him. We should just show up! Just go knock on his door!" This is what my sister said to me as we were driving home one night, a few days after Christmas. I laughed. We'd talked about it jokingly before, in a "how crazy would it be if ..." sort of way. She was serious this time though. She wanted to meet our Dad's birth father, and our biological grandfather. Just show up at his door! Unannounced! My first instinct was to shrivel away from the idea. I am an introvert unless I am called upon to be otherwise, and avoid confrontation whenever possible, so to me, this was stepping into uncomfortable territory. Still, the idea was intriguing. Get to see who my dad came from? Just observe his face, even if for a few minutes. His name had lived in our house for so many years, but my dad had only just gotten to meet him a few years ago. His home, ironically, was only a few minutes away.

We called our dad and asked if it was alright. His response was essentially, whatever you need to do. For my sister, meeting him was particularly important. It was something she'd always wanted to do, but never had the chance because we'd never lived so close. Yet here we were, in the same town after all this time, and suddenly it seemed stupid NOT to. I was excited but nervous as I jumped on board to accompany her. We navigated to the house, and left our husbands in the car while we walked across the street, nervously asking ourselves, "Is this the house? Are we sure? It's not that one over there? No, no I think this is it."

We rang the doorbell and expelled our breath. We hoped his family wasn't there. In the past, we had gotten the sense that the knowledge of my dad's existence had been disruptive to them, and our objective was not to add to that. We saw a figure get up from the living room and walk to the door. Just one person. "I think that's him", my sister whispered right before the door swung open.

Blue eyes. My dad's nose. My eyes, and my nose.

"Hi." We greeted him by asking if we had his name right. "Are you...?" He said yes and we introduced ourselves. Our conversation was brief. My sister did most of the talking, and I observed him quickly. He, this person who looked like our Dad, was just a normal guy. His eyes were kind. He was extremely young looking for his age - another trait he passed on. His handshake was firm and warm, and he didn't say much besides, "OK". Talking with him, it was obvious that he didn't think of us. That we were not a part of his story, like he was part of ours. It is strange to meet someone for the first time, when you know deeply personal things about their past, and what they've run from. In a strange way, it feels like a moment of connection. I know you on some level. I know you because of my Grandma, and I know you because of my Dad. I know what makes you human and I know, in some part, what you are afraid of.

It felt good to shake his hand.

As we were wrapping up the conversation, there was a silent pause. I couldn't handle it. I DO NOT HANDLE PAUSES WELL WHEN I AM NERVOUS. And, because I am a loser, I quickly blurted out, "Did you have a good Christmas?!"

*face palm*

He did have a good Christmas by the way.

19 comments:

Lauren Nielsen said...

This is the sweetest story. My dad's biological father died before I could ever meet him, but I've always wondered what he would be like and if I would look like him and what we would say to each other and most importantly, if he ever thought about me too. It's weird how total strangers can still somehow be connected by blood, but it's also really beautiful.

Chelsey Markarian said...

Okay. I feel this. I have never met my mom's dad. He lives 30 minutes away, and he sometimes post on my uncle's facebook. It's weird. Thanks for sharing this!

Ellie said...

I've followed your blog since it was clothes. Then clothes and baby. Then a bit of a pause. Then real life, babies, some clothes, but overall beautiful honestly. It's my favorite right now. You write when the time is right, when you have something to say, it just works. Also my sister and brother were both adopted, they recently got in touch with their birth parents- I'm so curious to meet them. Not the same as your story but I get a similar feeling.

Emily S said...

I nervously anticipate the day that this is me, too. I was adopted and have never met any biological family, but I have made contact with my birthmother online. I can't imagine the day I actually take those first steps across the street myself.

Kelly said...

Hi Emily S. I just found my birthmother online as well! I've been slow about wanting to meet her, but she is very anxious to meet me.
Good luck to you and I hope it goes well when you take that step.

Alex Sorensen said...

I feel the exact same way as Ellie said in her comment. love your blog. love the way you write and what you write. My husband was adopted and it always fascinates me when we see his birth mom and I get to see nature vs. nurture come into play. She came and visited us recently because we just had a baby and we talked a lot about his birth dad (whom my husband has never met). We actually facebook stalked him and I got to see him for the first time. SO cool to see where his looks come from. I would love to just stop by his house one day and say hello and get his side of the story... probably won't ever happen but its fun to think about!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I've followed your blog for a couple of years now. I just wanted to let you know that I follow a lot of blogs and your prose is particularly wonderful. You are such a great writer. You should write a novel! I'd read it:)

Anna D Kart said...

Oh wow that's so cool! I never met my grandfather on my father's side (and I doubt I ever will) but I bet it would be really cool...

thanks for sharing

Happy Medley

Hayley Peckham said...

Great story and wonderful picture....the cloud on the top left side looks like a hand :P

Megan said...

Truly gifted writer you are. I, like everyone else, am waiting for that novel to be written.

Melissa C said...

lol on the last part. silly goose.

Cassie Lee said...

Haha, I can totally relate. I don't know my biological grandfather on my dad's side either and my mom is adopted so I don't know my biological grandparents on that side either. I can totally get being interested in meeting them!

Paige Cassandra Flamm said...

I love this story! I never actually met my real dad, my mom and him divorced when I was super little and that's just kind of how it panned out. But I feel like I would be totally like you if I ever met him... "So good Christmas?", with my luck it would be July ;)

Paige

http://thehappyflammily.com

Samantha said...

I think it's so interesting to hear these types of stories. Everyone has one in some way or another, and as I get older it's oddly comforting to know that. Your genuine honesty is refreshing as always.


My boyfriend comes to mind... his parents divorced when he was really young and he didn't maintain contact with his father or paternal relatives, but his older sister did and still does. We're in our mid-twenties now and my boyfriend hasn't seen his dad in 10+ years (even though they live within a 20-mile radius of each other!) In the five years that we've dated, I've only seen one blurry picture of the guy and have always wondered if my boyfriend takes after him at all in looks or personality. Funny thing, how life plays out sometimes.

Stylish Housewife said...

I never met my biological father. I always looked him up online every few years or so. And then the last time I looked, he had passed away from cancer just days before. I think it is good that you made an effort or you may have always wondered what if. As silly as it seems...I wish I would have had the courage to blurt out "Did you have a good Christmas?" Thank you for sharing. xo

Carey King said...

I tracked down my husbands biological father about 2 years ago, it is so daunting... We got a whole extra family out of it- they had been searching for my husband too..but even then it's soon much to take in, I found the whole experience really emotional.. Not all good but settles a lot of unanswered questions right..?

Oh Hey Blog said...

Hopefully you (and more your sister) can now have some peace and closure now that you have taken away the "unknown". That's a big thing to not have in the back of your head all the time, all the questions and wondering. Plus I bet he secretly hoped you also had a nice christmas!

Megan || www.ohheyblog.com

Tess Tettelin said...

Loved this post, I've been reading your blog for so many years now (it started out with outfit watching, then baby talk) and I can't stop reading it. I love your honesty :)

Lauren C. said...

I have no understanding why, but I burst into tears when you asked, "Did you have a good Christmas?"

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