I didn't meet my dad until I was 18. For years I had stared into the faces of strangers looking for similarities. What if I had passed by him in the grocery store, or what if he was dead? So many questions entered my mind as I dreamt up this imaginary person. My mother's story was always slightly fuzzy. She mentioned that he was much older than she was and that they had been friends for years. One night she was feeling distraught and turned to him for comfort. One thing led to another and you now have yours truly. I always wondered how she knew for sure he was my father. If it was only one time, how could she be sure? She stuck to her guns and without a photo all I had was letters my grandmother had saved and a name. I stared at the beautiful handwriting wondering what he was like. Why didn't he want me or fight harder to be apart of my life. As the years flew by I got past the hurt and more than anything wanted to know who I was. I had no idea of his ethnic background, other than the fact that he had blonde hair and blue eyes. Was there any family illnesses I should be weary of? The answers finally came one warm summer night. My mother phoned saying she had hired a private investigator and had found my dad. My hands shook as I dialed his number. A woman answered and I asked if John was home. She politely asked me to hold as he reached for the telephone. "Hello," he said. I asked if he knew my mother and he replied, "yes". And then without warning, the tears fell like a waterfall as I tried to get out the words, "I think you're my dad". My grandmother reached for the phone noticing that it was too much for me to handle. She arranged for us to meet and hung up. The day couldn't come fast enough. I was dying to see what he looked like and wondered if I would feel differently in his presence. We met at the Orleans Hotel and as I walked up I couldn't believe how handsome he was. We talked for hours and strangely I felt at ease in his presence. He apologized for not trying harder to be apart of my life and discussed his reservations. Although their stories differ here and there, he stated he was always unsure if I was his. I'll wrap this up by saying that we decided to get a paternity test and he is indeed 99.9% my father. Too bad we didn't hire Maury! Over the past decade I have grown extremely close to him. He has been the father I felt I always deserved and has truly made me feel like daddy's little girl, something I thought I would never get to experience. He makes me feel precious, beautiful, smart and all the things a father should see in his daughter. I now have the experience of how wonderful it feels to be loved by a man that looks at your fingers and toes every time he sees you and has a sense of pride that you are his. He almost lost his life a couple years ago and I cried like a baby for fear of being without him. I thank god everyday for the chance to know what it's like to have his love. Since I've had the experience of not having a father to suddenly having one, I can tell you there is no greater feeling as a woman than to see yourself in his eyes. He's shown me a different side of who I am and the conversations we share over Starbucks coffee or lunches at Panera Bread, I shall treasure for a lifetime. At 29 I like to think that I'm finally daddy's little girl and I couldn't ask for a more intelligent, caring, handsome, thoughtful and profoundly spiritual father. He's perfect in every way and I'm so happy he's mine. Happy Father's Day Daddy!
And because I've said enough already...this Father's Day grab a bottle of Oregon Pinot Gris to pair perfectly with BBQ chicken! Cheers! (For more suggestions on what to pair with BBQ chicken such as reds, please e-mail me: courtney@quitWINEing.com)