Paradigm Shift Essay

In life we learn the significance of relationships. We form friendships, share experiences, and create memories from these connections. Early on we learn that our parents are the go to people when we have problems or need advice. Parents, or the lack of a parent, can play a significant role on a person’s life. In my case, I remember my Eighth birthday in particular. My mother had invited all of my friends and family to Pietros, my favorite pizza parlor. I was anxious. Today was the day I was going to finally meet my father.

I was distracted by the hype of being the birthday girl, but my mind never drifted far from the thought of him walking through that door. As the party continued my anticipation turned to panic. Guests began to leave and my father was still not here. How could he do this? Eventually everyone left and I realized he was not coming. My mother pulled me aside and hugged me, she could see my disappointment. At this moment I lost all faith in my father. It would be another 18 years before I would entertain the idea of giving him a second chance. Growing up my mother never spoke of him.

I have few memories of conversations I had with my grandmother about him. I always wondered what he looked like. Did he think about me as much as I thought about him? Why hadn’t he come to see me? The longer I thought about these questions the more I began to form a frustration towards him for denying me. I knew that one day I would meet the person who was my father, and wondered what his story would be. It was always this unavoidable event that I knew I would have to go through someday. As time went on I developed a relationship with my step-father.

Our family was close and I adjusted to being my siblings’ half-sister, although I never liked the sound of it. While in middle school I began to meet relatives from my real father’s side of the family, including a sister. She introduced herself to me one day in the cafeteria. I felt uncomfortable. She would try to tell me about our father and what he was like, but I had no interest in knowing him. I know this upset her because she didn’t understand why I felt this way. I kept contact with her through high school and even after we had moved out of state to Michigan.

Once high school was over I went on to college and met a guy. We had children of our own and I became a parent, first to my daughter, and then to my son. It was then, after I knew firsthand how hard parenting was, that I revisited my opinions about my father. I felt sorry that he had missed out on my childhood, and realized that everything in life does not go as planned. Sometimes you can’t prepare for certain situations or know how you will react. I decided to give him a second chance. Within a few hours of calling my sister from Oregon and explaining that I was interested in speaking to my father, I received a phone call.

It was him. I was so nervous to answer that when I did, I had no voice to speak. Our conversation went oddly normal, like I had spoken with him a million times. I finally had all the answers to the questions I had waited so long to hear. Ironically this day turned out to be my father’s birthday. This past August my family moved to Washington. Last weekend I was finally able to meet my father in person. It is unreal the connection you have with a person that was absent for so long in your life. All anyone ever needs is one chance.

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