My dad is celebrating a milestone birthday this year (he's turning 65,) along with my mother who is turning 60 and myself (I'm turning 30). In a recent conversation with my mother, she told me that my dad doesn't want to celebrate his birthday (which is in June) until November when I get back to the United States and we can all celebrate our birthdays together. I got teary-eyed, of course. My dad is certainly not much of a sap, but in the past few years, there have been times when he does or says something that is surprisingly mushy. My dad never really likes to celebrate birthdays anyway, but that fact that he wants to wait until I'm home was sweet. It's probably because my dad and I share a special bond that no other father and daughter share. You see, my dad had me.
Yes, I mean that my dad gave birth to me.
My brother and I each have a photo album that my mom put together from our first year on the planet. The first page in both of our albums is a picture of each of us in the hospital, bright pink, only moments old. The only difference in my album is that the first picture you see is of my father, in a hospital gown sitting in a hospital chair holding me with pink and white balloons floating behind him with a big smile on his face. He looks exhausted but elated, I mean, he's just given birth for crying out loud; give the man a break! My mother, who hates to have her picture taken, was no where to be found in any of the hospital pictures. She must have been working that day and left my father to have me, all by himself.
I somehow got it into my head one day, very early on, when I looked through the photo album, that I had found out a huge secret that my parents were trying to keep from me. I confronted my mother.
"Dad had me, didn't he?" I asked her, through tears. "Why on earth would you think Dad had you?" my mother replied. Oh, okay, she was going to try and play hardball (with a 6 year old). I had THE EVIDENCE! I opened the front page of the photo album and presented it to her. "You aren't in any of these pictures and Dad is in a hospital gown holding me! Why didn't you ever tell me that dad had me?!"
"Oh, you're a silly goose," my mother replied and didn't elaborate, because, well, proving my theory wrong would be quite a conversation for a 6-year-old. I'm assuming that's why my belief went on for so long. I eventually got over the sting of betrayal that I had never been told this secret, and defended it with great honor. This was a constant source of amusement to my family, along with the fact that I am the ONLY person in my generation (and the generations before me) in my family to be born outside of New York. (The icing on the cake being that I was born in New Jersey, but more on that another day.)
I remember several family gatherings vividly where someone would say offhand, "Well, that's because Rich gave birth to Erin." I could sense sarcasm from a very young age and I would fly into a tantrum! "He DID have me! I have PROOF!" I would shout as I would stomp off to get the photo album. My father, of course, didn't help me accept the truth. He would laugh through a big smile and say, "That's right honey, show them!" I liked feeling that my dad and I were a team that no one could quite understand because WE had a special bond. None of my other friend's dads had had THEM! Obviously, those dads were too lazy!
Years went by, and I remember realizing that it might not be true, even before I knew the scientific reasons behind it, but I still insisted that my dad had me. Part of me didn't want to lose that special link to my dad. My mom and I got closer and closer as I became a woman, but the father-daughter bond is harder to keep strong.
One day I will have to re-post this with the picture (THE PROOF!) of my father and I, because it is in storage somewhere in North Hollywood until next year. I've just been thinking about this story and wanting to share it so I couldn't wait that long! I hope you enjoyed it!