Leap Day (part 1)

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*This story will be told in a three part series*

Just a short while ago I was driving the kids to preschool and announced to my oldest that it was Leap Day.  A very special day that only comes once every 4 years.  She seemed pretty perplexed by this idea naturally.  But it wasn’t until the end of that fateful day that I would understand the new and very real significance of Leap Day for myself.

Let me start at the beginning; the very story that I never tell.  You see I’ve never met my birth father.  My parents had met through the USO, a military organization that brings potential spouses together (ok they do more than that but for the purpose of my family, that is exactly what it has done. Twice).  These two very young and immature people got married and wound up pregnant.  Marine daddy got shipped off to a foreign country for deployment and didn’t take his new spouse for safety reasons.  She feels left behind and wants a divorce.  Along comes daddy #2 who is also found by means of the USO.  My mom and #1 divorce and mom and #2 quickly marry and I have been raised by that second couple my entire life.  Nobody knows the wiser.  Except for me.  I have known since I was very young that this was the case, but since #1 was told in no uncertain terms that he should be out of the parenting picture, he reluctantly agreed and signed papers for #2 to adopt me.

But he didn’t.

Oh they made a big show of it and made excuses of why they didn’t formally adopt me and proclamations of “your mine no matter what the courts say. I love you” which at the time seemed sad, but good enough.

I grew up in a nuclear family with a mom and a dad, even if that fabric has threatened to tear itself apart on several occasions, it has remarkably remained intact.  Therefore, I never had a desire to find out the truth of #1 because A) I had a dad, and he was worthy of my loyalty and love, B) what if #1 was worthy of banishment?, and C) what if he never told anyone about me and would reject me a second time in order to spare his current family the shame of his past; I would never want to expose someones secrets and cause them pain.

Its been only in the last 10 years that the itch of not knowing has threatened the need to get scratched.  #2’s mom has been instrumental in my life and in this case she was pivotal.  She has been encouraging me to find out the truth and nudging me to take that leap and be brave against the consequences of opening pandora’s box since I was the same age as my mom when she got married.  After pleading with her for years that I couldn’t do it, mostly because I felt loyal to her and never wanted a replacement grandma, I realized her wisdom in this proding.  She loved me so much she didn’t want me to spend my entire life not knowing my truth.  Missing the chance to see my biological father’s face or hear his voice had the potential to slowly destroy me from the inside out.

grandma, me, bea and elsie

*me and my grandma and two of her sisters having a crazy fun night of playing cards and talking smack*

So fast forward to the present time, recently Music Man went back to Minnesota to complete a few house projects without the major distractions that 5 pairs of feet underfoot create (6 if you’re including mommy).  During that week I was spouse-less, something stirred in me (and for the life of me I can’t remember what my trigger point was!) and I simply said to myself “I need to know”.

And so began the search…



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