Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Better Day

Yesterday was pretty much a crap day, but today was a good deal better.

Yesterday I was overshadowed the entire day with the impact of an event Friday night, and the debate of how to deal with it.

For almost two years now, my wife have been in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. We shared this news with our families and got tremendous support. My father even went as far as to tell us that any child of ours, no matter how he or she comes to be a member of the family, will be viewed and loved as being as much a part of the family as a child born into the family.

About mid-May of last year Amy and I decided on a name for our baby girl. We created the name LynnMarie for her first name and we plan to use part of her Chinese name as her middle name as the tradition with Chinese adoptions holds. The name is a combination of family names. My mother's name is Linda and her mother called her Lynn all the time. My wife's sister's middle name is also Lynn. Both of my grandmothers were name Mary and Marie is a variation of that name, even closer with my paternal grandmother because she was Greek, and in her family her name was Maria.

We announced our name choice (as I said 14 months ago) and got widespread support except from my father who said he did not like it for the reasoning that he did not want to be reminded of his ex-wife when he looked at his granddaughter.

Nothing more was ever said. We have always refered to our future daughter as LynnMarie and some friends have even personalized some gifts with her name.

On Friday afternoon we went to my father's for a cookout. All seemed well until we were leaving. Dad followed us out and said, "Mike, I need you to do something for me." I stopped and turned, assuming he was talking about a favor, perhaps like helping him move his car or truck or something. With him standing on the porch, me on the sidewalk, and Amy about 10 feet across the yard from us, he said he can not have his mother's name associated with my mother's name and that we have to change the name of our daughter.

I said okay, and I turned and walked away to the car and we left.

I have tried for almost 20 years to maintain a positive relationship despite the fact that my father left my wife for another woman, that he cheated on my mom and later married the home wrecker he shacked up with and now accepts her child from a previous marriage as one of his own sons. I decided that the feeling of the importance of family and my faith as a Christian should motivate me to forgive and try to make the best of things.

Through the past 10 years life with my father has gotten gradually worse for all 3 of his sons. He has told my older brother that he is worth less than excrement (he used a different word). He criticized our original idea for which adoption agency to use, and now he is presuming to tell us what we as a couple can and can not do regarding the naming of our child.

The two women who have had the greatest impact on who I am as a person as my mother and his mother (who we called Nana). It is right to want to honor them in this way. In reality, my father has done little that I know of to have been honorable himself. He served in the United States Army for over 20 years (active duty, national guard, and army reserves), but he only enlisted because he knew his draft number was due. The only other honorable thing he did was to marry my mother, but he has told my older brother very directly that he would not have ever done that if they were not expecting a baby. This also means that if not for Peter being born, they would not have married and I would not be here.

My father is overly critical, extremely hypocritical (as there's about a cord of wood in his eye), and he has made it so two of his three sons want nothing to do with him, and the third (from what I understand) has a dwindling desire to associate with him.

The emotional turmoil cause by the past two days left my physically ill yesterday. I managed to change my work schedule to enable me to take today off and work another day later in the week and that was a good thing.

This morning we went to church together, went to lunch and a movie, visited the cats and dogs up for adoption at PetSmart, bought some groceries and spent the evening together. I did not think about my father at all until Peter came in and we talked a bit about the situation and told me he was proud of the way I handled Dad, short of possibly telling him to F off as we left.

If I was Jewish I would have had to tear a piece of clothing to signify that Dad is dead to me. He may live his life with the woman he prefers to live with and enjoy the company of her son and his live-in girlfriend. We will not be notifying him when we get our match and at this point I don't plan to talk to him again. As he has always expected me to do, he will have to live with the consequences of his words and actions.


Bubba's Sis said...

I am so sorry for this. Family turmoil is SO stressful (we have it frequently with Hubby's family). I'm praying for you, and for your father. Perhaps God can change his heart and you can allow yourself to give him another chance someday.

Sonya said...

Very stressful. Praying for you, your wife, and the adoption of your daughter, LynnMarie. Your father is making it really hard to honor him. The best thing you can do for him is to pray for him and hope that he repents to you and your wife one day.

Hang in there!

FRIGGA said...

I'm sorry your father is so unreasonable about this. He had his own life to live and he made his own decisiosn. He may be sore about how some things turned out but that has nothing to do with you. I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns, you and Amy are the only two people who's say matters when it comes to naming your children. I hope eventually your father will see the error of his ways, but if not at least you can be a better father to your daughter.

Tuppence said...

I came to read your movie character list and read this, too. I was reminded of some advice a wise person gave me for how to deal with people who insist that their way is the only way: "Just smile and nod and then continue doing what you believe is right."

Praying blessings for you and yours.

Nancy said...

I am so sorrry for the family turmoil. I am very proud of you for sticking to your morals however. I don't think anyone should have the right to tell you what you can and cannot do when it comes to your children.

Hugs to you and Amy!!

k1 said...

Stand strong. LynnMarie is your daughter. The name you have created for her has strong significance for you and Amy.

Your father's true disapproval of the name is that it causes him to feel guilty over his past actions. His guilty feelings are his to own. They are not yours and you need not capitulate on your naming decision to help him assauge his guilt. If he really can't bring himself to call her by LynnMarie, suggest he call her by a mutually agreed upon nickname like Sweetpea or Pumpkin or something.