I spent a good part of yesterday putting up our Christmas tree.
I’m being a bit more “minimalist” about decorating this year. I’ve decided not to put out all the santas or all the snowmen I’ve collected over the years.
Instead… I’m opting for a more white and silver and elegant kinda vibe.
But I did spend hours working on the tree.
I had forgotten I bought a brandie new 9 foot tall beauty last year until we brought it out of the attic, and I realized the box was completely sealed. What a fun “surprise!”
What a lot of work “fluffing” the branches!
But, unlike past years, I didn’t care how long it took. No rushing this year. I put the movie White Christmas on, and I sang along with Bing and Danny and Rosemary and Vera. And I fluffed and reflected.
I reflected on Decembers and Christmases and trees past.
I smiled remembering cutting down live trees and decorating them with handmade ornaments from my mother-in-law and vintage balls painted with my name and the year on from my childhood when we were so young we were still kids ourselves. Money was tight but the joy was so joyous!
My eyes teared up remembering hubby lifting our little boys high up in the air so they could take their turn every other year reaching the tippy top of the tree to crown it with the star.
I laughed remembering the magic of Sammy our magical elf, who came every December 1st – long before anyone had ever heard of Elf on a Shelf (oh why didn’t I think to market it!!!). He is the one “ornament” I put on the tree no matter the “theme” each year. He’s been coming around for 30 years.
I felt melancholy remembering loved ones who we spent Christmases with who are no longer with us – those who have passed, but live in our hearts forever.
I remembered the emptiness of those first empty nester years.
I reminisced about the first Christmas being reunited with my Dad and the wonderful, loving extended family that came along with him.
I rejoiced in the renewed joy and magic that grandchildren have brought to Christmas.
And I celebrate life. I am choosing to celebrate the woman I’ve become through the time and experiences I’ve been given. I am making an effort every day to be the me I am meant to be – not comparing to others – those younger or thinner or smarter or wealthier or more talented or whatever we all compare each other about. I am telling myself every day that I am enough. As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” December is also my birthday month (even if it doesn’t come until the very last day of the month!). And as a very wise friend, who faced and battled cancer years ago once told me when I said I don’t want to celebrate birthdays any more as I get older… “Celebrate! Each day and year is a gift. Not everyone gets this opportunity.”
May you find time to reflect on the memories, joys, sorrows, blessings and gifts of your life. Have a beautiful December!
Today is a very special Anniversary… A day that brings back floods of memories… floods of emotions…. reflections on time missed… but celebration of time and love shared… from here on…
You see – Today is a Father-Daughter Anniversary. Today is the 4 year anniversary of my reunion with my Dad (my “birth father”).
And I thought it deserved a special anniversary card to send to Dad to help us cherish the day.
So you might think that sounds a bit odd…. Father and Daughter Anniversary???
Well – I’m going to share a kinda big chunk and pretty personal part of my heart today. So – if you’re not into that or not interested, you may just want to skip this blog.
So here goes…
On July 17, 2010, I was reunited with my Dad (my “birth father” Dad so as not to be confused with another great man in my life that I also call Dad – I know – a bit confusing – and on top of that both of their names are John!).
It was a day neither of us will ever forget.
The reason(s) for our separation for 39 years is really not the point or purpose of this story, nor do I feel appropriate to share, but the joy in our reunion is the focus here…. And oh what JOY we have shared.
For our second Christmas together again in 2012, I presented Dad with a book I wrote for him.
I called it, “The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl.” The book is a celebration of our initial exchange of emails leading up to our reunion that covers the course of only a few short weeks, but close to 70 pages of exchanges. It chronicles how we discovered each other again – an adult daughter close to 50 years old – and an even more adult father – close to 70 years old who last saw each other when the little girl was 9 years old and the Daddy was just barely past 30.
We (well mostly I) asked each other questions (sometimes difficult ones) and our exchanges evolved from closings with “John (BF)” to “Love you, Dad”s.
Let me share the “Introduction” with you here.
“Once upon a time, there was a little girl. Jodi had a Mom and a Dad and a little brother.
Life was good, until one day when Daddy left. Then Jodi just got to visit with Daddy on the weekends, until a day came when Mom introduced Jodi and her brother to a new Dad, and told her she would not be seeing her other Daddy any more.
Jodi lived a good life. Her new Dad and Mom took good care of her and her brother and her new baby sister, but Jodi always felt something was missing.
She thought of her first Dad throughout her life.
She dreamed of bumping into him on the street… their eyes would lock, and they would immediately recognize each other. Dad would tell her he loved her and missed her and was so proud of the woman she had become…..
Sometimes dreams do come true…”
Marty (for those new here – the hubster), was instrumental in helping me find my Dad.
It is so much more incredibly easier than imaginable with the internet and people search software these days.
Marty has known for years – probably before I even realized – that there was a part of me missing – that there were unanswered questions – that there was a dad out there that I needed – and who needed me. He has asked me over the years about it – ever since we started dating when I was a mere 16 year old high school girl and he was a “mature” 20-year old “man.” (That story is a whole blog post for another day). When Marty realized my yearning had grown so strong, and my need was so great, he was the one that took the step to reach out for me, and the resulting reply is etched in my mind and on my heart forever:
“Hi Jodi – Yes. I am your “Birth Father.” It was an answer to prayer hearing from you. I hope that you and John are both fine. To this day, I regret the worst decision I have ever made. I was talked into doing something, but I had my own mind. At the time, I thought I was doing the best thing for your two. Can you ever forgive me?”
And so began my Journey back to Daddy’s Girl.
And now we celebrate four wonderful years of being a reunited father and daughter, which began on July 17, 2010 when my Dad showed up to my house with a huge bouquet of flowers, a face that looked exactly like mine (and resembles Tom Jones I think only to me 🙂 ), immediately telling me he loved me, and he missed me, that I was beautiful (only to him I’m sure 🙂 ),and he was so proud of me. You see – he wanted to fulfill my dream… He wanted our reunion to be the wonderful event I had dreamed about over the years…
We both cried – happy and sad tears. And we have talked almost every day since then. We’ve spent birthdays and holidays and Father’s days together. He was with me at our son Jake’s wedding. He loves my family as his own. His family has embraced me as their own. They have always known about me, and they welcomed me with open arms.
I will never forget the first time I met my Dad’s wife, Carole (aka Mom 2). The first thing she said to me was, “Your Dad always promised me a daughter, and now I have one. We’ve been praying for you for a long time.”
The epilogue of my book closes with:
And so it began …….
With a simple email …
A journey back to Daddy’s girl.
And now, two and a half years later …
… we write each other almost every day
… and talk every weekday morning at 7:05
We’ve spent Father’s days together and holidays and birthdays and are part of each other’s lives again.
Our families love each other and we love each other.
‘What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life’
Dreams do come true!
this is notTHE END.”
Father & Daughter Reunion Day – July 17, 2010
I hope this message will encourage those adult children who were separated from birth parents – at whatever age (birth, childhood, teenager, young adult) – for whatever reason – to reach out and try if it is something that has yanked on and ached in your heart for years.
Maybe your ending will not turn out as good as mine did (and of course there is much more to our story than I’ve shared here so far) , but can anything hurt more than the emptiness and not-knowing that you feel every day? Could the potential rejection be any worse than what you have imagined or decided or dealt with for years in your heart?
Love is worth the risk. It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Closure or resolution or answers to decades of unanswered questions can let you sleep at night… can bring you peace… can make you right with yourself! I’m certainly not an educated or trained professional in this area, but I can only speak of my own personal experience.
I wish you joy. I wish you peace. I wish you resolution. I wish you wholeness of heart – no matter the ending. YOU are worth it. YOU are here for a reason. YOU are loved.