I am going to be treading lightly here as I feel like I am on the fringe of things. One of the more challenging aspects about writing about life in an online medium is properly figuring out where your life story is vs where another life story is. We are all constantly bumping into each other and colliding our adventures. My version of the day I met you will be wildly different from your version of the day you met me.
Many times I mute myself for fear of overstepping boundaries. Sometimes when I do that really big moments go left unsaid. I know that W is not capable of writing about this last week at this point. Maybe some day he will want to and maybe it would be interesting for him to know what it was like for me. I do know I talked to a lot of people about what we could expect before hand and even then I was not prepared. Maybe my sharing our version will be helpful.
For quite a while W has been talking about father’s and dads and, in our case, donors. For W’s entire life we have shared his creation story and that included the contribution of a donor I selected from a sperm bank. As W got older the conversations would meander into wanting to know if the donor was his dad. In our family, a donor is not a dad. However I have always explained that the donor is a part of who W is. I ask if W would like to know more information about him? If he would like to see some photos?
He has always declined and shrugged it off. Making sure W knew he could have access to this information whenever he wanted it was important to me. It wasn’t a mystery and it wasn’t a secret.
Less than a month ago he was ready. It was the end of the day and it began with W telling me, “I don’t have a dad.” I agreed and then I asked if he wanted to see a photo of his donor. W was curious. I pulled out my smart phone and opened up the folder I keep on the donor and decided to play the video the sperm bank had created about him. The video had photos from when the donor was a baby all the way through adulthood and it was narrated with information from the donor’s profile.
I watched W take it all in.
Honestly I was expecting a bigger reaction, but W simply listened and looked, and when it was over his eyes met mine and smiled. I think he was relieved. I don’t know if he had imagined the moment going a different way (I suppose I did!), but whatever it was, it was done, we had jumped the hurdle.
Based on his calm demeanor I took the conversation forward and I told W that the donor had also helped other families. I can’t remember exactly how I said this, which makes me think I stumbled through this more than I would have liked, but the point is I told W he probably has 1/2 siblings. I didn’t use the term “siblings” as the words “brother” and “sister” are very emotionally charged for W right now. Instead I said they were sort of like cousins. This is a familiar relationship term that made sense for us.
I asked W if he wanted me to look into that and he said yes.
To be continued…