Among women, we always joke that the reason Moses remained lost in the desert for 40 years was because he wouldn’t ask for directions. Well, I feel his pain– even though I’ve never had a problem asking for directions! Sometimes, the path we need to take just isn’t very clear, and along the way life has a funny way of making things complicated– and here is why: because life is really a great stage in which our passions are played out. People are not always rational, and emotions very often make seemingly simple decisions impossible to implement.
It’s taken me a whole lifetime to figure out what on Earth happened between my parents so many years ago. 15 years of research as a family law attorney is what finally helped me piece together this puzzle, and only with my skills as a mediator/Collaborative attorney did I finally solve the stupid riddle of why my birth certificate lacked any mention of my father. Here is the simple answer: fear. We all react very badly when we are afraid, and horrible things may be said or done that can’t be undone later on. Often we make the wrong choices because we are not thinking clearly. This is why in the heat of the moment, you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to gain perspective.
40 years ago, my dad wasn’t ready to be a dad. My mom, overwhelmed by the costs and responsibility of raising a child alone, tried to force him to do the “right thing.” Well, there is nothing worse you can do in my world than give me an ultimateum and try to impose your will on me. I am after all my father’s daughter, and so I can totally understand the series of events that transpired soon thereafter. In a battle of wills, with a zero sum game mentality, he walked away completely, and she then killed him off– not literally, just in the first part my life.
What could have had all the potential for a Greek tragedy or the makings of a dramatic Shakespeare play with everyone dying in the end, actually has a very happy ending. Why? Because this outlier refused to accept the reality of her world and decided to re-open the lines of communication. It did not happen overnight, and it was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, but I suspended all judgment and sought simply to understand both sides. This is how I came to forgive both my makers, and then go the extra step to right the wrong from 40 years ago.
Today, I am happy to report that I’ve accomplished my mission. After all this time, a New York judge just granted the request for my father to be included on my birth certificate. Who ever saw this ending coming even just a few years ago? No one. The morale of this story is that extraordinary things can happen if you let love in, and let the past go. I was so lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see… we all have within us the power to exit the desert and right the sins of our parents.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.