Yesterday I read the book The Spy in the Russian Club by Ronald Kessler. It's the true story of a man named Glenn Souther who was born in Indiana, grew up an all-Americanboy in the mid west, joined the Navy, worked his way to a top secret security clearance,and sold secrets to the Russians. It's really a facinating story, but the next to last chapter fucked with my mind a little.
In that chapter, the author talks with a retired FBI bahavioral science expert, or a "Profiler", similar to the popular NBC TV show. In his breakdown of Souther, he would jump arounf to explain how he reached certain comclusions, at which time he would give examples from different cases. One thing he hit on really made an impact on me. Souther's relationship with his father.
See, I was adopted. The story goes that when I was concieved, my parents had an infant already and I was a surprise, or an accident, depending on how you want to look at it. At first, I thought my older sibling was a boy, but now I tend to believe I have a sister. Either way, there's a sibling out there somewhere. Anyway, my father was said to be a very smart man, but had a drinking problem. He was said to have the tendency to not finish things he started, and was irresponsible. At any rate, he left my mother and sibling when I was still in the womb. When I was born, my mother had no choice but to give me up for adoption. I'm sure that must've devistated her, as it would any mother.
I guess all my life, on some level, I've resented my father. Keep in mind, I'm talking about my biological father, not the man who adopted me, who is one of the greatest men in the world. My father is where the problem lies.
I've always said of girls I dated that no matter how much they dislike or try to separate themselves from their mothers, in the end they will share many of their mother's characteristics. I have found this to be true in 100% of the women I dated. Even my wife, who TRIES to be different from her mother, still acts like her from time to time. I've noticed similar traits between myself and the way my father was said to be.
My father was said to be an alcoholic. Some have said I am as well.I don't think I have a drinking problem, primarily because I don't have cravings for alcohol. I don't drink at home, and I don't go out often. WHen I do, I don't try to drink till I get drunk. Granted, there was a time when I couldn't get enough, but that was in college, and if every binge drinking college student is an alcoholic, then AA should have more members than fraternities and sororities combined.
On the other hand, I recognise that alcoholism is a disease, and diseases hit different people in different ways. If it is, in fact, hereditary, there's an outstanding chance that I am alcoholic like my father. This doesn't mean I have to wake up to a bottle of vodka or race to drink beer after work everyday. The fact remains that except for my college years, I'm a moderate drinker. I drink less now than ever with my time as limited as it is. I realize the distinct possibility that I have alcoholism, but it might not me in the same way that it hits others. Regardless, if I have it, I have it. Like father, like son.
Another characteristic of my father is the way he would not finish things he started. I've been somewhat the same way. He and I would both get into something new with great speed and enthusiasm, but would soon tire of it and move on. He was said to have started business ventures, then get out and move on. I don't know any of the particulars, and I don't think of him often, but I wonder if some of his traits were passed on to my in his genes. I've had over twenty jobs aince I was sixteen, which was just a decade ago. I remember certain jobs I would start with great enthusiasm, then get bored and either quit, or refuse to give a shit until I got fired. Sometimes I regetted this. Other times I didn't.
there were other things I started but didn't finish, and although I often felt bad about abandoning something, it was usually soon forgotten. I used to be a fanatic about mountainbiking and kayaking, but then one day I wasn't. Maybe it had to do with getting married and having children, but maybe not. What I DO know is that I spent close to $2000.00 of kayaking and mountainbiking equipment and only used they stuff a short amount of time. I still have it, and still use it when time permits. Perhaps my biggest regret as far as unfinished business is concerned is my college degree, and I can even justify that. I abandoned my degree in Radio Broadcasting when I discovered that the business was dog eat dog and you had to work for change for YEARS before you get any real money or a steady place to live. I didn't have a backup plan, so I dropped out of college until something else sounded good, like computers do now. That's whay I'm back in night school now, but it would have been easier to finish BEFORE I had a wife and two kids.
They say my father is very smart, but then again they say the same about me. Granted, I've done some stupid things in my life, but all in all, I'd say I'm a pretty smary guy.
But here's the thing that scares me. What if all these traits ARE passed to me genetically? What if I too am passed the gene of irresponsibility? What if that trait is to fall on me as well? In HIS case, it led him to abandon his family, leading to his wife's sacrifice of having to give up their son. I've said a million times that this is where its going to stop. this is where genes get beated by the will to prove them wrong. I refuse to do to my family what my father did to his. There is no way I will allow it. If my wife were to have a change of heart and leave me, as unlikely as it is, that would be one thing, but I'm talking about ME walking out on MY family. That simply is not an option.
My wife is still the perfect wife, now more than ever, going above and beyond the normal call of marital partnership and motherhood. She keeps me smiling even when I sometimes don't feel like smiling. I have two beautiful little girls, one is two, the other a month old. My two year old is so smart, so funny, so full of life, how could I possibly leave something like that?
I lie in bed sometimes and think of days to come. I think of my kids starting school, playing sports, being social, recieving honors and awards, and even (Gulp..) dating. I don't think I could live with myself knowing I was missing those moments. I guess what it all boils down to is that genetic or not, my father's destiny will not be my own.
Than again, maybe my father isn't such a bad guy.
Maybe he has remorse and feels bad every day.
Maybe he doesn't.
Maybe he's dead.
I certainly don't wish the latter on him. I have too many things I'd like to say to him first. Questions that need answers. Emotions that need closure.
I think every adoptee has run through their mind the fantasy pf eventually meetingtheir birth families. I've thought of the emotional reunion of my mother, sibling(s) and I. It was filled with hugs, tears, smiles, and laughter. My adopted family would be there as well, so I could be the one to introduce both worlds to each other, and all would be well.
The reunion with my father would be darker.
I've ran a thousand scenarios through my head a thousand times. Some are more vengeful than others, but regardless, there are certain common underlying tones. I want him to feel embarassment and hurt. I want his heart to sink into his chest as if he's been caught in the act of doing something REALLY bad. I want to make a scene in front of his peers, so he has to explain to them that that tall stranger that just left was the son he abandoned nearly 30 years ago.
I want him to suddenly have questions without answers. Clues of no merit. Leads that go nowhere. I want him to HURT.
I want him to feel what I've felt all my life.
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