Today would have been my dad’s 99th birthday. Mom was one day behind him. They adopted me just before they turned 29 and my sister four years later. It takes a special couple to take-in someone else’s baby as their own. I couldn’t have asked for better parents, although I still did my share of making life difficult for them. I regret not being more grateful at the time and for abusing my good fortune. I was especially mean to my mom who did everything for me, when I was really nothing more than a guest in their home. I would like a do-over on being their son.

As I continue to explore the family that shares my DNA and put-together an tree to understand the connections, there’s a certain sense of guilt that washes over me. These are all complete strangers, while my “real” family has nothing to do with genetics. While my adopted parents were still alive, out of respect I had little interest in looking for strangers. My heart was definitely in the right place, but I didn’t always show it. As I reflect on growing up, I should have shared my feelings, expressed my love. Instead, I was selfish and in need of a do-over. 

In this life, you don’t get do-overs! You have to live with your mistakes, as I am with mine. After all, it was a likely mistake that brought me into this world. Two strangers attracted to each other got together without anticipating the consequences. It gave my parents the start to a family and me the opportunity to raise a son of my own. It turned out to be a chain reaction of good fortune. Granted, I could have been a better son, but most people don’t understand this until they take on the role of being a parent themselves. In my case, I also grew up in a family that also had the resources to provide me with a college education. I’m not sure that would have been the case without adoption. Not to mention the personal nurturing and attention I received as part of a stable household. All things consider, I would never risk a do-over or even consider giving up the love that I will always feel for my mom and dad. It’s their birthday and I miss them!