The photo for this week was taken by my husband Bob at Morro Bay, California. It’s a quiet little fishing village with artistic overtones and friendly people. We are celebrating my sixty-second birthday here.
SUNRISE OR SUNSET: IT’S ALL IN YOUR POINT OF VIEW, PART ONE
The picture is of a west coast sunset, and some might consider sixty-two a sunset. For me, it is a sunrise. The sunrise or the sunset on the ocean looks the same. It just depends upon which direction the viewer faces. East coast, west coast: the light is still the same.
The Little Prince (my favorite fictional character) loved sunrises and sunsets, too. There is one point in the book where I always cry. It is the goodbye scene with the fox. “You become responsible forever for that which you have tamed…. You are responsible for your rose.” The wild fox, now tamed, reveals this and other secrets to the prince. Fictional truths can be real truths. I made it my truth when I found my real father in 1982.
During my turbulent childhood, I never knew I had a father somewhere who actually loved me. My mother loved me, but parts of the puzzle were definitely missing. Secrets were a way of life in my family. (They often are in an abusive home.) I had assumed my brother’s father from my mother’s first marriage was my father, too. I did not really want to meet him. I knew my stepfather was no blood relative. I would rather not have met or lived with him. It wasn’t until I needed a birth certificate in my twenties that I realized I did not exist! At least I was not who I thought I was.
After some digging, I unraveled my story. I was the product of my mother’s second marriage. I had a father who was still alive. They had divorced when I was two. I went on a secret search to find him. I did not get any support in this venture until I got married later to Bob.
I remember in my early marriage being awakened by some mysterious force every night at 11:11. I’d look at the clock and say, “Okay. I see.” But I didn’t. It wasn’t until searching in a hall of records that I realized a personal connection to this cosmic number. My dad’s birth date was November 11th! With that information, and with help from ALMA (Adoptees’ Liberty Movement Association), I was able to locate my father.
When I timidly knocked on his door, I did not say who I was. After a pause, he opened the door, holding a bath towel around his waist. He said, “You must be my long-lost daughter, Kathleen.” That was the gateway to one of many new relationships.
I learned I had two half sisters and met them the next day. I had an aunt, cousins, and an elderly grandmother nearby my home in Southern California. My dad’s best friend had a father who had been one of my professors in college.
With the possible exception of my husband, I have never felt such an instant connection with a person as I did with my father. We were on the same page of a book I didn’t even know had been written. His favorite book was The Little Prince, too, and he spoke French with my husband about it. (Bob was a French teacher.) Dad also spoke five other languages and read books as fast as I do. We had similar affinities in spiritual matters and in our love of music. While I did not have his technical and scientific abilities, I loved learning about his inventions and seeing where he worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).
As far as my feelings are concerned, the sun rose and set in my father’s eyes. I know he felt the same way about me. He had not had an easy life since we had been separated, either. We caught up on what made us who we were. We reorganized the universe to have some time together. It was a time that was all too brief.