Not many adults can recall with complete accuracy the number of times they were with their fathers, but I can– we have had 9 visits since we first reconnected in February 2011, and this now marks my third Father’s Day with my dad in my life.  The first year, I sent him an album that captured the first seven years of my son’s life.  The second year, he came to DC, where I showed him around town and joined him at the Fancy Food convention, where he showed me a part of his life.  This year, I gave him the cover to the children’s book I am working on about finding dad after 38 years.  Clearly these are not your normal gifts, but then again, ours is not a normal story. 

Growing up as the Love Boat baby, I always wondered what it would be like to have a dad.  Two years ago, when I finally met up with him at The Source in DC, it was instant recognition.  When he hugged me, it was like pure electricity coursing through my veins.  As I took in the sound of his voice, his movements, his choice in words, there wasn’t a single jarring moment– we just gelled.   After all these years, finally being able to see where certain traits come from has given me an amazing sense of belonging.  There is just so much likeness that I share with my dad and brother, and as a result when I am with them, there is an incredible sense of calm that washes over me, leaving no doubt in my mind that genetic connections have a strength beyond anything we can imagine.  Others may come and go in our lives, but family will always be family.

Tomorrow, a New York judge will finally hear about my parents’ fateful meeting on a cruise ship 40 years ago that resulted in my birth.  All this time, my birth certificate has omitted any mention of my father, and at this point, this piece of paper may seem like just a minor formality, and yet it is not.  To put it crassly, that fatherless child no longer exists.  She is all grown up, and by finding the courage to piece together her family life, she’s found a profoud sense of connectivity, belonging and love beyond words. 

With my dad, I feel safe and accepted.  I can be authentic and know that he gets me in a way that no other man ever will.  I hope the same is true for so many others out there, for this is how it should be.  Being able to experience this (better late than never I suppose) is the ultimate gift from my dad this Father’s Day, and every extra day that we are able to share on this Earth.  Thanks Dad!