So, on my birthday…for the first time in about 20 years, I heard from my father. My actual, biological father. He called me. To wish me. Of course, at that very moment, Babyice stepped on a toy he had not picked up and was screaming like a maniac the entire call and I struggled to hear what he was saying. Initially he said ‘You probably don’t know who is speaking’ and since I didn’t know the number I said no. ‘It’s your father’. Floored. I was probably a little less surprised than I would of been if I hadn’t spoken to my paternal grandmother earlier in the day and she had said something about telling him to call me. I didn’t think he would. After all, I have been in contact with his parents for more than two years, so why would he make contact now? He did. It is the first time I ever remember him wishing me. I’m not saying he never called me on my birthday when I was a kid, but I don’t remember that. I have very little memories of him. He also said that he would like to come down to Cape Town (his whole family is here), but that he spends most of his time working now. He said he has Whatsapp and that we could talk on there.
I sent him a few pictures of the kids. Told him how old they are, he asked for their birthdays. He then said he couldn’t chat as he had visitors and I left it there. I was very surprised to hear from him again the next day. And the next. Everyday since my birthday he has contacted me on Whatsapp. From what I can tell he commutes home (apparently about 42km) and he uses this time to talk to me. When he gets home he says goodbye for the evening and says we’ll talk tomorrow. I’m not sure if he is keeping our correspondence outside of his home environment for a specific reason. I’m not sure if his wife doesn’t know or if he (like me) values his time with his family in the evenings and doesn’t want to sit staring into his phone. Yes, I am also family, but this is something I can respect. [Update] Apparently his wife knows we are corresponding and approves.
I lay awake thinking about this last night. I have so many questions, but I don’t want to scare him away. Maybe it has taken him this long to make contact because he was afraid of the questions? Maybe he was afraid that contact with me meant possible contact with my mother? I don’t know.
The conversation so far has been limited to ‘catch up’ type conversation. He asked if my grandparents were still living in the same place. He asked how my mother is. He said he is sorry about my grandfather and the deteriorated state of my relationship with my mother (I wasn’t too specific, but told him that I had distanced myself from her). He told me about his commute home. I established he doesn’t have contact with my youngest half brother, but that my younger half brother who is 28 lives with him and his mother (he married her in the end). I asked for a photo of him and he asked for one of me. He still has to take one, but I sent him one of myself. I don’t know when we’ll get to the questions, but I’m sure he expects them. The short time that we chat in the evenings won’t even begin to cover it though. I’m treading lightly. [Update] He sent me a picture of himself. I don’t see me there. Maybe I’m not sure where to look.
Biggest. Birthday. Surprise. Ever.
Updates were added last night as this post was scheduled ahead of time. We had another conversation after the post was written.
Also, he sends me pictures like this:
Not sure what to make of all this.