Tuesday, May 20, 2008

twenty four years two months nine days

First phone call of the morning stops me in my tracks. I got your name from the story in the paper. One of the men in the article, I think he's my biological father. I haven't seen him in over 20 years, in fact I've never seen him because my mom was pregnant with me when he left. But I know it's him. That's my father. Please. I've been looking for him for so long.

Holy shit. So we talk some more and because I've got my own rules to follow I tell her I'll try and if I do I'll pass along her number but I can't give her any more information than that. But inside I'm freaking out. I have to find this dude. Before we hang up she asks me why we have so many homeless people where I live and I ask her what state she's in and I tell her a whole lot of folks without homes live there too. She tries to wrap her head around this, it's become personal now and she's read it in black and white.

So I strike out in the first logical places, he's been gone for months. So I do some deeper digging, I contact public entities and some private, I beg and I tell them about the call. I say I know it's unusual but what if it's true. 20 years is a long time. Folks concede. They go one extra mile. Eight hours later I hit paydirt. Someone knows him and will get him to call me. The underground community moves a mountain.

10 minutes later my phone rings. I am all of a sudden awkward, is this welcome news or not and I don't know so I just say it. A woman, she called me and said she's your daughter and she's been looking for you for 20 years. Yes, he says. Yes. Quiet. He's gruff and I can't read him, not even close. Is this ok I ask and he says I've been looking for her too. Nothing else. I tell him I have her number and he fumbles for a pen, I can hear it now, he's nervous, he can't find a pen and he's nervous.

Take your time, man. I am leaning back in my chair with an enormous grin. I've been looking for you all day so I'm cool, just take your time. Thank you he says. I want more but I don't get it and as we hang up I know it's none of my business but for 8 hours I've owned this, I've single point focused on finding this man.

I happen to be heading off to meet some workmates for dinner, I arrive at the noisy bar late and grinning, I say you won't believe this fucking story and they listen and applaud and we drink a toast. As we are waiting for the table my phone rings and I look down, it's the guy calling me back.

I grab my phone and run outside. I answer it and he says I had to call you back and thank you and tell you I just called her. We just spoke after all this time and I was so nervous and I'm just calming down now. She doesn't remember that we met when she was a baby, she doesn't think we ever met but we have.

Well, I said, I'm crying a little bit now, she said it's been twenty years.

It's been twenty four years two months and nine days. I've counted every single day since I've seen her last but she doesn't know that. I have grandkids. I can't believe it, I can't believe this is happening. Thank you. And he goes on to tell me how this happened, the sad and painful journey and the terrible mistakes he's made and all of it together and we talk of second chances, of hope, of what can be done now and perhaps how we can help and we hang up with a promise to connect again in a few days. And then I turn and look at all the people going in and out of the restaurant, the glamour girls and the kids, the older couple on a date in their fancy car running the valet in the heat and I lean back and smile because today was a really, really good day.

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51 comments:

Loth said...

What a wonderful story. A lovely start to my Tuesday. Would that all Tuesdays were so positive! Well done you for going that extra mile or two.

Manager Mom said...

That is absolutely incredible. It sure does make one think that there is such a thing as a fate, destiny, whatever. Or if you don't swing that way, to acknowedge the poetic beauty of every day coincidence. I bet you just got a rather large deposit in your good karma bank...

Little Monkies said...

Amen, mama, amen.

thordora said...

That's a great fucking day, no question...

QT said...

Oh wow - that is the kind of thing that makes me smile, and how sweet is he that he counted the days?

cinnamon gurl said...

I LOVE that he's been counting the days that way. A very good day!

Mrs. Schmitty said...

That is just the most awesome thing I have ever heard or read. You have made one heck of a difference in those people's lives. You are truly a special person!

marymurtz said...

This is what fills you up when you feel empty, or stuck, or burned out. What a great day!

Arwen said...

I love that you give depth to people most of us just glance past (as we clutch our purses).

wheelsonthebus said...

Holy Sh-t. That's amazing.

Mayberry said...

I'm so glad you had a good day. A really amazing day. 'Cause I know they aren't all like that.

nyjlm said...

reading your blog always presents the opportunity to have one's breath taken away. I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself that you're not writing fiction- these things--both wonderful/awe-inspiring and oh so heartbreaking-- really do happen. Thanks for sharing your stories.

Magpie said...

That gave me goosebumps. What a great tale.

TZT said...

What beautiful serendipity.

slouching mom said...

oh, oh!

you've made me cry.

happy tears.

Gwen said...

dammit, jen, you just made me cry.

meno said...

All because you went that extra mile. Beautiful.

Amanda said...

Effin' A right it was.
Damn, I am all shivery and teary and finding my gratitude for you being in the world and my life exploding.

Amy Y said...

I can't think of a better way to start the week...
Thanks for the goosebumps, Mama. :)

mamatulip said...

Wow, Jen. This blows me away. YOU blow me away.

Janet said...

How awesome does it feel to be a part of that? I can only imagine.

jennie said...

what a wonderful story. and what a gift you gave to them all.

jen said...

All,
Thank you. But truly, it was their story, I just got lucky enough to witness it.

ALM said...

You do amazing, amazing work. Thank you.

Kyla said...

Amazing, you.

Oh, The Joys said...

These are the moments that make it worthwhile.

Love you, friend.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

You just gave me the chills, you.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

Crying, here, with happiness for them, and for you, being able to help.

flutter said...

holy fucking crap!

This totally inappropriate language moment brought to you by flutter, stunned birthmom.

Tabba said...

yes, indeed.
the praising of all things holy.

i know that most days are filled with unpleasant realities.
this is like a beacon.

i'm so glad you get to share it with us.

Blog Antagonist said...

Sniffle. What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

You need to write a book. Seriously. My sister cares for mentally disabled adults and I always tell her the same thing. It's a side of humanity that people don't get to see.

ms chica said...

Effing awesome. When I started reading this post, Jeff Buckley's voiced emerged on the radio singing, Hallelujah...I didn't consider its significance until I finished reading this post. Sometimes life provides an appropriate soundtrack.

Beck said...

I am so glad I got to read this today. What a gorgeous story.

crazymumma said...

I am sitting in a waiting room waiting for Bookangel to finish a dance class. And I want to tap my neighbour, who I do not know on the shoulder and tell them this absolutely incredible story.

How on earth are you going to sleep tonight?

painted maypole said...

that's so cool. really cool. oh, jen. dude. you rock.

Jennifer said...

You are good folk, Jen. Very good folk. And you always make me cry.

Denguy said...

Wow, that's a good story. You're just some sort of love-sower.

Omaha Mama said...

Is it 1:7 or 1:8? There's this magic ratio. Of good days to bad. We human service types need to maintain that ratio to keep from going totally bat shit. (Really, it was in some textbook I read for a class once).
So today ought to hold you for a while.
Good for you.
If I could pull it off - I'd say You Go Girl!

TEOM said...

Holy work, girl.

lildb said...

I love you so much, Jen.

thank you from the very bottom of my heart for being you.

hele said...

You rock my heart with hope sister*

alejna said...

What a freakin' amazing story. That's so beautiful. You had me crying over my bowl of cereal yesterday morning. (I didn't have time to comment then, so I came back.)

Jen, you rock.

Bon said...

oh wow, Jen. how wonderful for her to find out he's been looking, he's noticed her absence. how wonderful for him to find out she was looking too.

i know fairy tale endings are rare, but i still hope they find something in each other to help each of them.

sniff. thanks for this, this morning.

Julie Pippert said...

Wow.

And you do this...every day.

Wow.

PunditMom said...

Amazing!

NotSoSage said...

I always tell people that I don't cry but you constantly make a liar out of me.

Good work, Jen.

liv said...

you're the good things, jen. yeah, that's you. i'm just proud to know that someone gets to see these miracles.

Ruth Dynamite said...

You are the magic maker.

carrie said...

That work you do - it's the best kind. The best.

Hetha said...

Damn woman! You didn't accidentally end up in the middle of this story, that is for sure. That's spectacular stuff.

Expatriate Chef said...

You know, I just saw my biological mother after 20 years myself. Day after my grandfather died. No stress there. Ugh.