- Whiskey Lullabye by Brad Paisley & Allison Krause
My hands were shaking as I tried to dial the number on the phone. I sat outside during a blistering cold winter in Ohio. I kept fumbling with the phone, trying to get the number right, and second guessing myself the whole time. I probably shouldn't even be doing this.
I finally got it right and forced myself to push the call button, trying to keep myself from gagging from my nerves that were tied into knots by this point. A lady answered, and I asked for him. She said hold on. Oh my god, he's there. I wasn't expecting this, and when he got on the phone I had no clue what to say. I had to force myself to not hang up. Just say it. Just say it. So, I blurted it out in a fit of nervous vomit. I asked if he knew my mom. He said yes. I told him that I had been told that he was my father. Not knowing what to say to this he says, "No, honey I don't think so." With those six words my heart broke into a million pieces. I gulped and wished him a happy holiday and hung up. My head dropped as shame and heartache filled me. I finished my cigarette and stepped inside.
Tears were pouring. It was all I could do not to break out into a loud sob. I felt if I didn't tell someone that I would explode with pain, so I ran into my aunt's room, and told her what happened. She was speechless, and just held me as I cried. I told her that I was so embarrassed. So ashamed. How could my mother tell me something like that, and let me embarrass myself like I just did. My aunt told me that she knew the truth, and she knew he was my father. She held my hands in hers and prayed with me while I shook and cried. There are no words that can explain the utter pain and emptiness that I felt at this time. Complete desolation. If I have ever had my heart shattered in my life it was then. A million f*cking pieces. I could almost feel it bleeding. From all I had been told about him by my mom and my aunt in the past month I expected it to happen differently. I expected him to tell me he was so glad that I called, and that he had been waiting for twenty three years to hear from me. Instead, he made me feel like a stranger. It was almost unbearable.
By the time my phone rang I was so choked up that I didn't know if I could answer it or not. It had only been maybe 10 minutes, but it felt like days. I managed to answer after sucking back snot and clearing my throat, but I know he could tell I was crying. Anybody would've been able to tell, but I weakily whispered a sad "hello?" It was him, just like my dear aunt had promised me three minutes ago when I felt no more hope. He continued to tell me that honestly he wasn't sure if I was his daughter (I very well could be), but he asked what I looked like. I told him that I had dark hair and dark eyes like him. Like the picture I had carried in my purse for the past month, the one single old Poloroid that had filled my heart with such hope. He told me he wanted to meet me. I agreed, and told him I would call him when I retured to town from visiting family. He apologized for not saying more when I called him, and said I had caught him completely off guard. I continued to cry after hanging up. I was shocked, and still a bit hurt. My aunt just held me and told me everything would be okay, in a way that she only could, and I felt like a five year old child rather than a twenty three year old woman.
A week later I returned home, but didn't call him. I was scared, and wasn't so sure anymore that I could do this. I shouldn't have to do this, and I shouldn't have to feel like this. He called me for two days before I actually answered it, but when I did he told me he wanted to meet me, and we agreed to meet for dinner the next day. For that single period of twenty four hours I was a mess.
I pulled up to the restaurant fifteen minutes late. Even though I was living right behind it at the time, I just couldn't hardly get myself in the car and over there. I almost didn't even go. Curiousity made me. I wanted to atleast see this man that created me. I wasn't to see if maybe I had his brown eyes. I wanted to atleast know what it felt like to talk to my father. When I walked in I didn't recognize him. He had aged so much from the picture that I had of him from twenty four years before. His black hair had turned to grey, and wisdom filled his dark brown eyes. My dark brown eyes. For the first time in my life I sat at a table across from my father, my daddy. I looked into the eyes that had looked back at me from the mirror for twenty four years. Do you know what he said to me? He said the exact thing that I had hoped and prayed he would say, and my heart filled with love and replaced the hurt that had held it hostage for so long. He told me that he has always known that I was his daughter, but my mother never would tell him so. My mother told him I belonged to someone else. He told me he used to see me in the grocery store with my grandma when I was little, and follow me around watching me, but never talking to me. He told me he had driven by my house multiple times over the years hoping to see me playing outside. I felt no insecurities sitting with him. I had no doubts. Meeting this man for the first time in my life wasn't even akward, because I already knew him. I felt like all of the mixed up pieces of my life kind of fell into place sitting in that restaurant. I felt like a little girl again - remembering all of those times when I was a little girl wishing for a daddy. When I was a cheerleader, and wished more than anything that he was there cheering me on. I would have been a dream come true for me when I was younger to have my mama and my daddy in the stands watching me cheer or play basketball or even graduate from high school. I'll never have those things now, but my son will, and that means so much. He will have his grandpa, and remembering how much my papaw meant to me my heart overflows.
I will never be able to make up for the time I've lost with him. I'll never be able to look up in the stands and see him cheering me on, nor will I be able to hug him after walking across the stage at graduation, but there are so many years of memories that I now have to look forward to with him. I no longer have to wonder why my dad didn't love me enough to stay with me. I don't have to spend the rest of my life wondering, and I am so thankful for that. I still have questions, but it is quite possible that there are no answers. I'm so grateful for getting a chance to meet the man who created me, and the man who would've been in the stands cheering me on every time if he would have known. He was never told that I was his daughter, but he knew. He still knows, and so do I. We will spend the next years trying to make up for lost time. I may never have the "daddy" that I always wished for when I was little, but now I have a dad, and hopefully one day I will be able to call him that.