Friday, March 13, 2009

Update From the Wolf Den: Dad

No, the other Dad. Bio-dad, natural-dad, whatever the term is these days. At any rate, Wolf's father surprised us a few weeks ago with a phone call and a pledge to fly to CHYC in order to visit his son.

Three years had passed since Wolf had seen his father. That last visit was shortly before our arrival in Alaska, when we stopped over in Issaquah, WA to spend Christmas with my parents. In an interesting twist of irony, my former husband and his family live but a block away from my folks. We had purchased that home shortly before our separation in 1995.

Wolf's dad has been, and I guess is continuing to, work in the world of civilian contracting in Iraq and now Afghanistan. A new contract putting him in some remote area of Afghan territory meant a flight out last week and a six-month stint away from the U.S. So he decided to visit Wolf, perhaps with some "should'as" eating away at him. Or not.

I recognized on one hand that this visit, with the anxiety, pressure, and emotions involved could be frought with peril, knowing how Wolf seems to handle such things. But on the other, I also knew how important such a visit could be to Wolf's sense of reality. After not seeing his father, and, in fact, rarely having any contact with the man other than perhaps a once-a-year phone call and rare mail, Wolf had built up an image in his mind. He needed to see dad in the flesh to prove that he really existed, I think.

Staff at CHYC were understandably as concerned as I; how does one go about arranging visitation with someone who has shown no effort to be involved in the first place? Would he be safe? (I really didn't know) Would Wolf have an anxiety attack and become unglued? (The possibility existed) Would he even show up at all? (It's happened before) A plan was developed and implemented, boundaries were established and held.

For myself, I think this was the truest test of letting go. There is no greater potential source of anxiety in my life than the lack of relationship between my former husband and me, and our son. I usually can forget it exists when he is overseas. Even the lack of financial support gives me fewer reasons to have any contact with him. Yet here was this man about to visit and I could do nothing about it. Nothing. Nada.

I prayed a lot. I let things fall into greater hands with confidence.

And, all went well.


dorothy said...

Phew Amen that's over! I can think of lots of things to call him, but since this is a family blog....I will spare you that side of my nature. Maybe just calling him 'M's estranged biological father' would work? And me, I'm just his plain old Auntie. :)

Battalion Chief said...

That's the joy of this, finding alternative ways to state the obvious...