I knew we had found my father’s granddaughter. My friends and I managed to retrace her steps from her late brother’s obituary. Staring at her Facebook profile picture, I wondered if she would have any lingering animosity towards me. Would she even know who I am? Me, that once pampered little princess who had stolen her grandfather away. As it turns out, the two of us were only two and half years apart in age with me being the older. Obviously, when I was having a tea party in my beautiful dress with my new daddy at the age of 6, she was missing out on his love. I can say that part of me grieves for her losses as well.
The granddaughter’s picture had no resemblance to my father. It just seemed impossible. If the woman that came to grandpa’s door was dad’s daughter, she would have been 16 years older than me. At the time, I remember seeing a girl that I thought was much closer to my age. Could it have been Grandpa’s great granddaughter strung out on drugs? That made much more sense than it being a woman old enough to be my mother. A time in my college “partying” years defined by such popular songs as “Free Bird” by Leonard Skynrd and “Who’s That Lady” by the Isley Brothers came to mind.
As I started to write dad’s granddaughter, I just kept studying what appeared to be such a pensive-looking younger day’s picture of this woman. I assumed she had a connection to my dad that I would never have… as his blood relative. Part of me felt a little jealous, while being sympathetic at the same time; she must have been short-changed, too. Before all the deception, if I could have picked a father’s name to be on my birth certificate from several possibilities, it would have been his. And not because he was rich and listed in some prestigious book, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare as a well-respected medical doctor. But I thought we had a mutual trust and a deeper understanding for each other.
After receiving my letter, my father’s granddaughter wrote back to say she was anxious to speak to me, but was afraid that there was some kind of mix-up. She answered, “I have a grandfather with that same last name who was divorced from my grandmother. I haven’t seen him since I was about 5 years old.”
Yes, this is when my father being old enough to be my grandfather did have its drawbacks; but it didn’t take long to explain to her that I was his step daughter from his marriage after her grandparents divorced.
Under a difficult set of circumstances, I am not sure I would have responded with impressively such openness and a forgiving heart as my new niece did, especially if my grandfather had been a rock in my life. And then to have that unfortunate “memorable” day when through a small child’s eyes, his other family just took him away forever.