So I had received the Facebook message from my daughter’s mom and was completely taken aback. I mean, I had always thought this could happen but I never actually believed it would take place. I immediately wondered what Sunshine would think, and became a bit concerned that she wouldn’t really want the extra burden of having yet another child in our lives…especially one that she didn’t “sign on for” in the beginning.
I sent a message back to the mom and told her that I was super-excited and also extremely nervous and scared. I had been dreaming about a possible meeting for a long time now, so now that it was about to become reality I wasn’t sure how to handle it all. I was also a bit surprised that she wanted to meet Sunshine, too…and I honestly wasn’t sure about how her reaction was going to be.
As it turned out, Sunshine’s reaction was incredible. Sure, it was a “big deal”, but it wasn’t 100% unexpected as she told me that she did, in fact, “sign on” for this when she got into the relationship with me. Things would have been different if I hadn’t told her from the very beginning. Because of my honesty, however, she was excited about the meeting and about the possibilities that could come as a result.
The day of the meeting, I was a total wreck. I was nervous and tried to prepare for the worst. I wondered if she would just want to meet me and then that would be it, having a chapter of her life closed for good. I wondered if she would hate me. I wondered a ton of things…making for a very distracted CBG.
We all met at a restaurant for a late dinner, but I wasn’t hungry. My stomach was tied-up in knots and I just can’t imagine what I would have been going through if Sunshine hadn’t been right by my side to hold my hand and help me get through the entire thing.
The mother and I spoke a bit…small talk, really…and that kind of broke the ice. My daughter looked to be just about as nervous as I was (if not more), and it took a few minutes before we began any kind of real conversation. They had both been creeping my Facebook page, so they thought that they had a handle on who I was and what my relationship with Sunshine was. They thought we looked like a fun couple (which is totally the case!) and if it weren’t for Facebook, they may not have wanted to meet us.
One of the first things she told me was that she didn’t care about what had happened sixteen years ago between her mom and I. She didn’t want to know the details. What she said next, though, almost brought me to tears…
“I think that everybody deserves a second chance.”
From that moment on, the conversation went incredibly well. We bonded over movies, over music, over singing…we sat there and talked for a couple of hours. She looks a LOT like me and she appeared to almost be relieved at the thought that we were so much alike. She always wondered why she didn’t look like her dad (her mom ended up going back to her ex-boyfriend…the one before me…and put HIS name on the birth certificate) and where her musical abilities came from. She had so many questions growing up, wondering why she was so different from her parents. Meeting me helped answer most of those questions.
As we left, she said that she was absolutely wanting to meet-up again. I thanked her mom for allowing this to happen and as we said our goodbyes, I almost got choked up because I was just so positively thrilled at how this whole meeting had gone.
Once Sunshine and I got into the car and shut the doors, we both exclaimed “She’s awesome!” at each other. She is beautiful, smart, well-spoken, and just so amazing in so many ways. I was positively beaming with happiness.
After the meeting, I knew I had some people to tell. I told my daughter first, because as the oldest (until now, anyway) she had the right to know first. Plus, her mom was aware of the situation because we dated soon after my first daughter was born (that’s going to take a lot of getting used to). I was, again, worried about the potential reaction. I was completely surprised to know that she was STOKED about having an older sister. In fact, they immediately began texting each other and can’t wait to meet.
I then told Sunshine’s girls, and their happy reaction was exactly what I was expecting from them.
It was then time to tell my ex-wife and my son. I think she realized that I had trust issues and seemed to be over the fact that I never told her. She actually seemed genuinely happy for me. I told my son and he seemed surprised, but in a good way.
So here it’s been about a month later and I’ve met up with her three times now. We’ve talked via text and via email. Things have been going so well that I even invited her to the impending wedding of Sunshine and I (hopefully) later this year. She appeared to be extremely excited about it, so that’s just icing on the cake.
For years, I’ve been beating myself up about my poor choices as a young man. What has happened over the past month has not only helped me to forgive myself, but it’s helped me to finally close some of those doors in my past and move forward.
I’m a good man now. I’m a good father. And I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure this relationship, wherever it may go, is a positive one. I may never end up being called “dad” by her, but I’m going to always be there for her going forward.
I am not going to mess up this second chance.