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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Here's a Story for you....

When my Mom was 18, and about to graduate from High School, she got strep throat. Her MOM decided that she WOULD NOT go to her Graduation and accept her diploma. She (Granny) told my Mom that the only way she would leave the house on that particular day, was if she (my Mom) lived elsewhere. Well, my Mom has cajones. She got with a friend and MOVED OUT!!! Well, the friend she moved in with was her "steady" at the time, Robert Ford Carrigan.
My Mom graduated with her class and received her diploma and was ready to begin College. Low and behold she got *pregnant*. (Imagine that, living with a man and all that... LOL)
Her Mom got so angry, she would not speak to her. Only my Mom's Dad would come to see her and give some support. Bless his soul!! My Pompa.
So, my Mom became Mrs. Robert Carrigan. Things were tight. It was really hard to pay rent and buy food. So, when the baby was born, ME!!!, the Carrigan's had to rely on friends, a bit of Charity and some food stamps. Still, The Grandma would not budge... even to see her only GRAND DAUGHTER!!! Rrrrr. She bullied and pried and wedged to get the new Momma to divorce the Baby Daddy. Telling her she would only accept the new baby girl IF the Baby Momma divorced the Baby Daddy.
Finally, life was so tough with the new baby girl, that the Momma called her Daddy and said she would file for divorce. She saw that neither of them had a decent education to get a good job with benefits anytime soon, and *maybe* it would be better if they went separate ways. They were good friends to begin with. And really only got married because they wanted to the right thing for their new baby. The Momma made a tough decision and through the tears, she filed that divorce.
Here is the part that is hard to digest. Just how manipulative the GRANDMA was... The Grandma made all her demands through the lawyer... WITHOUT the new Mommas knowledge (after all, the Momma was only 20, and very naive and trusting). Her demands included a restraining order against the new Daddy. She made up some lies that the Daddy was bad ju-ju and so it was a court order that he not come near his daughter. That ruling comes into play for an incident when the baby girl was about 2.
One day when the baby girl was about 2, the neighbor was babysitting while the Momma was at work. They were at the park. Off to one side of the park was the baby Daddy.... Just watching his baby girl swing on the swings, slide on the slide and dig in the sand. Not coming close, not harming a fly. Just watching with the fascination of his very own child enjoying what life had given her.
The neighbor saw him. She knew he was the Daddy. He was watching his baby girl.
At the same time, the Grandma and Grandpa made a surprise visit (which now were regular, as were the gifts) and saw the man watching his daughter. They called the police and he was detained and then given a ticket for "vagrancy" because he was *loitering* in the park of children with less than a dollar on him. Cruel.
The Daddy never got to see his baby girl again.

PART 2: The baby Girl Grows Up
(I am going to continue the story in the possessive now, because the story now is about me.)
The divorce happened when I was 9 months old. I don't remember it, or my Dad. My earliest memories are of the tiny apartment my Mom and I shared. Our neighbors, the Bergerson's, were my family, along with Roger Webb and Penny. A few others dot my memory, including "Mommy-Stel". The Bergerson's (Dennis & Vicki) had 2 sons: Eric and Bruce. As far as I am concerned, they ARE my brothers. I did everything they did, wore their hand-me-downs..... I was a boy!! LOL I have so many happy memories!! Dumpster diving (literally) from the tree above the dumpster, Easter egg hunts at the park, pumpkin ball, sunburns from the beach. I cannot forget Bruces fire behind our apartment complex, stacking snails 10 high, or being *taught* how to hitch-hike!! Back in the old days...
So, when I was 6, Bruce started this little grass fire in a fenced in part of our yard. He was trying to melt plastic army men or something. The fire kinda got out of control and we were stamping it out to no avail!! I had to run and get an adult to help us!! There was a guy at the complex right next to ours.... He grabbed a hose and drug it over and got the fire out BEFORE the fire truck even got there. Our Hero!!
The Hero noticed that my Mom was single and asked her out.... Heh-heh. They started dating. Yup. You guessed it. Just after my seventh Birthday, Doug Knapp married Connie Carrigan; my Mom. (At the time, we lived in Torrance, CA, where I was born.) Being only 7, I did not really understand any of this family stuff, like Daddy's and such. Dennis was my Daddy figure, because he was Bruce & Eric's Dad. I was treated like one of their own. So having Doug as my Dad was not a bad thing. Hey, I kinda had 2 Dad's now? Right? LOL
We ended up moving to a new apartment where I got my own room, instead of sharing with my Mom. Then my new Dad was transferred to Northern California with his job. So we moved to Walnut Creek. I grew up there. All my childhood friends (other than B & E) are from there. Many I have known and still know went to the same Elementary school as I did.
I think I was about 10 or 11 when I started asking questions about my birth father. When I realized that I had one that was different from all the other men I had grown up with. My Mom had been trying to have another baby with Doug. After several miscarriages, she was able to carry my brother, Michael, to within 5 weeks of his due date. His birth was rough and his infancy even rougher. We almost lost him, but he was fighter and strong willed, just like his Dad. My bond with him is almost a Motherly one, as I was almost 12 when was born. I took care of him lots, and babysat him even more. I was like a second Mom in a lot of ways.
It was in High School that I remember quizzing my Mom about my birth father... Whats his name, how did you meet, what color are his eyes, do you think he is still alive, when was the last time you saw him, do you have any pictures... I learned that he had wavy/curly hair, was about 5'9", very artistic (my Mom would always tell me that I got my artistic talents from him) had blue eyes, and was tall and thin. I asked if she knew where he was or how I could find him. But this was all before the internet and I was not adopted, so there were no binding records of any sort.
At 18, Mom told me some more about my Dad and showed me some pictures. She gave me one he had drawn... A self portrait with an afghan dog at his side. She also gave me a florist card, typed, from some flowers he had sent to me. She saved the hospital bands from around my ankles with his name on them. She told me about my Dad having sent me some cards and whatnots for my Birthday. She waited until I was old enough to understand, and then I could make the decision as whether or not I wanted to try and find him. The ball was in my court.
I spent several years growing up, working, going to school and trying to discover who I was. All along knowing and feeling my Dad was out there somewhere to be found.

Part 3: My Adult Life
When I was 24, I met my husband. Scott Thorson. Him being in my life has a parallel to mine. Scott was adopted at birth. His Birth Mom & Dad were VERY young when he was born. Again, as was true in my *before* life, a very manipulative Grandma was involved. This time, the pregnant girl was wisked away from her hometown as soon as the pregnancy was discovered, and lived a hermit life until the baby boy was born. Mom was not allowed to see her son and the Dad was in the Military by this time. Scott was adopted by Katherine and Alec Thorson. They had wanted 2 boys of their own, but after trying, they realized they could not have children of their own. Katherine & Alec adopted 2 boys; Craig and Scott.
Both Scott & mine's Moms' were bullied into doing it someone elses way, to suit them, and not the owners.
Well, when Scott was almost 24, his birth Mother utilized a tracing company, and was able to locate Scott by phone. You should have seen Scott's face when he got the call. It was the most amazing thing to watch. He now had a connection with who he was and where he came from.... biologically. ((Let me amend this a tiny bit. Scott loves his parents who raised him so much. When his Mom (Katherine) passed when Scott was 18, he almost ended his own life. He still speaks of so many happy memories of his Mom that he weeps from her loss.))
Scott and I moved to Snohomish, Washington for about 9 months so we could be close to her. Our next stop: Katy, Texas. Shane, my son, was not yet 2. My Mom had moved here, Texas, right after Shane was born and we needed to be closer, for family. My family was just that. My Mom, my Dad (step, but I don't think of him as step, just for clarification), and my Brother. In 1999, I had Lauren. It was about that time that I started wanting to see if I could find my birth father. I was curious... I wanted to know more about him. I had children of my own now and I wanted to share them. My beautiful babies!! I also wanted to know more about my own background, my heritage, my lineage, as it were. Disease, addictions, balding.. EVERYTHING!!
Then I had Lindsey... Only 20 months after Miss Lauren. We had our first dinosaur computer then, in 2001. When AOL was pretty much the only internet server and it was like $15 a month. LOL I was on line (dial up!!) all the time!! I was learning more and more how sew and listing on eBay. I searched and searched for Robert Ford Carrigan. At that time, my friend, Lisa, had a friend who paid for a service to unlock peoples addresses and phone numbers and I got a hit!! In Mississippi!! I quickly wrote a letter, inserted pictures of our family and sealed the envelope. I had butterflies. Stamps on the envelope. It took a week to get it the post office. I had doubts... All of a sudden I thinking, "If wants to know ME, he would have contacted me by now."
I mailed the letter.
It was in December, before Christmas, in 2001. Lin was four months old.
I sealed it with a kiss.
Nothing came back in January.
Nothing in February.
March.
April.
Maybe he was not ready. Maybe his wife intercepted the letter and he did not know. Maybe he did not live there anymore. Maybe he was dead......
I sorta gave up after that. The hunting I mean.
The thoughts continued.
Since I was on the computer all the time, I signed up on Reunion dot com, I was a well known children's clothing designer on eBay and I opened my website, KraftyMommas Boutique dot com. Life was easy breezy. Raising 3 kids, doing housework, making some money, sewing and being a wife. I opened The Pink Zebra Boutique in Old Katy and was selling Handmade clothing in a storefront.
It was March of 2007 when I got a phone call towards the end of my shift at Babin's. My husband asked me if I was sitting down. He had something to tell me. I was prepared to hear that one of my kids had a broken bone or was sick.
Instead he told me about an email. An inquiry from my website. The sender was asking if I was Trevor Carrigan, born on April 21, 1966, in Torrance, CA.
The sender was Chrissy Carrigan. My Birth Father's wife.
I sat down. Tears pouring down my face.
She included a phone number and I called her. We talked several times, for several hours.
For my Dad's birthday, the following month, she wanted to give him the best present she could: ME!! So we worked it out.
As it turned out, Ford had talked about me to his wife since the first day they met. I had always been a part of him, in his heart, and he shared me with Chrissy, Keeley and Keslie. They all knew about who I was (the baby me) and they said a prayer for me every year on my Birthday. The day before my Dad's Birthday. I was truly his present in 1966.
On his birthday, 2007, I called her cell phone.
She handed him a box.
He started to open the box and handed the phone to him.
"Hi Dad."
Inside the box were pictures I emailed to her and she printed out for him.

Part 4: Family
After all the tears and all the talk, my Dad drove out from Charlotte, North Carolina. He stayed for almost 2 weeks: one week visiting, and one in the hospital. You see, all this happiness brought on a mild heart attack. ((As soon as he got home, he had an open heart bypass and is all fixed up now, good as new!!)) Gee, now don't I bring out the best in people??
Well, since he had been hospitalized, he could not drive home. So Chrissy & Keeley, my younger half brother, flew out to be with him.
I have to say, I have never felt more comfortable with people I do not know, than I did with these 3 family members!! I had never met them before, but the minute I did, I knew we belonged!!!
At home in NC, my even younger sister had to attend High School, so she could not come out here. Her name is Keslie.
After meeting my Dad for the first time in person, then my "step" mom (more like a sister!!), and my brother, I was clued in to the rest my extended family. My Dad has many brothers and sisters!! That means Aunts and Uncles. My Aunt Patio. The best Aunt/Sister/Friend/Confidant ever!! The cherry on top?? Gramma. "Momma". She is 85 and a Spring Chicken!! I could not love a woman more than I love her. But everyone lives in Michigan, Florida... all so far away.
Luckily, this is only the beginning.
This past October 31, 2009, my brother Keely got married to his love, Meghan. I was gonna fly. Then I was gonna take a bus. Right? Nope. At the last second, I decided to drive. And take my girls. We drove 18 hours straight through..... from Houston, TX to Charlotte, NC. It was awesome. I have never done anything so crazy in my life, and it was so worth it. From the girls being bewitched at passing through states they have only heard of to seeing my brother get married and getting to meet my dear Gramma.
It was the trip of a lifetime. So MANY happy memories.
There is more...
Talking to my Dad the day after Thanksgiving. He says, nonchalantly, "We have a new addition to the family." I am thinking, who's pregnant, not me! Not Patio!! He won't tell. Finally, he gives.
He had a daughter in 1970, in Rochester, NY. Her name is Shannon. Oh, and she contacted me. She is on my Facebook.
"Hey Rocky, wanna watch me pull another rabbit outta my hat?" (In my best Bullwinkle voice)
About an hour later, I get FB message from her, we exchange phone numbers and half an hour later we are burning up the phone lines.
It is awesome to get a sister you always wanted. A little bit late in life... But, hey!! I could not have CHOSEN the 2 sisters I have received any better!!! Serious.
More...
My sister, Shannon, had a baby when she was 19 or 20. A baby boy. She was young and knew she could not offer a good life for this boy, so she gave him for adoption. He is 20 now, old enough to know if he wants to. Guess what?? She found HIM on Facebook!!
What made me finally, after almost 44 years of life, why am I finally writing all this down for everyone to see?
Shannon is going to meet her 20 year old son for the first time in San Diego. She has a layover at IAH for 2 hours and I am going to meet her.
It is all about FAMILY.
And now, I have a large one. My dream come true.
Well, that and I think things have slowed down a bit and I had a chance to get everyone caught up with my life seems as unreal to me as does a Soap. Trying to figure out who's gonna come out of the woodwork next.
**INSERT HAPPY ENDING HERE**
**NOTE: I am sorry if I left anyone out of this story. I tried to be as factual as I know and not to leave anyone out. But I was half listening to Obama and his "State of the Union". That should be excuse enough.
((OPRAH!!! ARE YOU LISTENING?? THIS WOULD BE ONE HECK OF A STORY FOR YOUR SHOW!! SO MANY CHARACTERS, SO MANY INTERTWINED STORIES AND LIVES!! SO MUCH HAPPINESS!!!))