i already told about how i found and looked through a ton of old photos from my mom's stuff. at first i was so focused on the actual images - the content of the photos - that it was all i could think about. but after i sorted through them and picked out the ones i wanted to keep, there were some other thoughts that occurred to me.

the first was that - i had been robbed - of my own past. the family context that i was born into had been stripped away from me and locked in a box for decades. there were pictures there that i had never seen - of myself as a baby and toddler - of myself with my real father (who died days before my 3rd birthday) - of myself with BOTH parents. i now have a meager collection of 3 photos with my father and my mother - little 3-inch-square black and white poorly focused snapshots - something i had NEVER seen before! it would have meant so much as i was growing up to have had even one of those. i always felt rootless and as if i did not belong. when the step-dad entered our lives (i was 5 1/2) he made sure that we had very little contact with my father's family. my grandparents visited us several times - but we did not go to see them. i was alone and lonely - disconnected and isolated - and didn't know who i was or where i had come from. i know that this sense of insignificance and insecurity contributed in a major way to my vulnerability to abuse.

the next thing that i realized was that my wife and i had tried really hard to stay connected to the rest of the family in the only way we knew how. there were hundreds of photos that we had sent them through the years - of us and especially our kids. we had always lived a long distance away - but kept in touch by letters and pictures - but it was a one-way street. we would make periodic visit to them - but they came to see us only 3 times in 15 years - and 2 of those were when 2 of our babies were born. i don't understand why and how mom could do that - just cut me off as if i didn't matter - like i didn't exist - like the only ones of value were her 2nd family.

what was worse - was that the letters and photos were never acknowledged. we would get christmas gifts in the mail - and birthday cards sometimes - and invariably late - sometimes as much as 6 months after the dates. hardly ever a letter. my half-brothers and their children - who lived nearby - and were the biological children of both mom and step-dad - got all the attention.

guess i am having a pity party - and i don't know what i hope to gain from venting on this topic - but we have just moved - and i don't really know anybody else in this town that i can talk to. so i am sitting in a coffee shop - our internet is not yet connected at the house - and once again wishing that so many things had been different. one of these days i'll post some of those photos.
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago