By Matthew McKenna
Children who are born to unmarried parents are known as being “born out of wedlock” or called a “bastard.” Due to this, that child may never meet their other parent. If given up for adoption, he or she may never even meet their real parents. However if it is the child’s wishes to meet their parent or parents it is their choice to meet them. To this day, it still occurs and it’s not uncommon.
I am one of those children born out of wedlock. I was raised by my mother and her family for over 19 years. She and her family raised me to be who I am today, kind hearted, sympathetic, and a stubborn Irish person. In a way, besides her and the family, I was raised by my friends and teachers.
My father was never in the picture, although I did meet my half-brother who was briefly in my life. All I received from my father was child support, birthday and holiday cards, and two calls from him. Eventually I created my own email that was originally set up to email my father.
At the end of my first year of college, I kept having dreams of me walking out of a New York train station that is near my house, but when I would come up, I would see London’s Big Ben. My mom believed it was a hidden message to go meet my father. I agreed with her, then emailed my father writing I wanted to meet him. He emailed back a yes. We then started emailing back and forth about when and where to meet.
I took a night flight from JFK to Heathrow airport and while on the plane I kept thinking of what he would be like and what questions I would ask him.
I didn’t know what he would be wearing until I got there, looking for a man with a tattoo on his forearm since he blended in with old men with white hair and suits. Once we met I hugged him as my mom instructed. Little did I know what my week would be like while meeting him and touring London.
At first he seemed cool, showing me the area he lives and the town he goes to buy things, which was cool since his town is where they filmed the movie The World’s End, preparing good meals, telling me what life is like for him. He had a really neat flat. He also smiled the majority of my trip. He asked me about my major and what college I’m enrolled in as any parents do, as well as asking what my goals will be b after I get out of college.
Later it seemed to get worse. His over compulsive nature was showing such as telling me how to take a shower a certain way. He told me how he didn’t want another family due to the fact his old family had shut him out, being really annoying and telling me pointless things.
He didn’t show any interest in the photos I had of my friends during senior prom, the senior trip nor any other interest in what things he missed. He didn’t even care to tell me what it was like for him to grow up as a child after World War II, only of how he would use his imagination to create games to have fun. Talking to him about current politics took almost an hour.
When we went to a dancing club of some sort, it mainly consisted of middle aged people and senior citizens, for his weekly workout.
During the time we were touring around London, from the Buckingham Palace, to Big Ben, the London Eye, the zoo, and etc. he would tell me more annoying things. Some stories he shared about in his past didn’t seem interesting just because he didn’t deliver them well. He kept making bad jokes the majority of the time.
Anytime I took a photo of a monument or location, he would ask me if I saw a hot girl walking by or show me a topless model in the newspaper that was advertising something. To me, it seemed like he was testing to see if I was gay or not. Does it matter? I guess according to him it does.
He also shared his perspective of my mother which I really disliked to the point that I wanted to punch him, but I didn’t.
He eventually asked me, towards the end of my trip, if I enjoyed my experience. I told him what I thought of the trip and what I thought of him. I told him that it was a closing chapter in my life. He looked mad when I said that. I told him that my mother, aunts, uncles, and etc had done more for me than he ever had such as going camping or going on vacations.
The last day I couldn’t wait to get on the plane home. For me, I was in paradise when I saw that there was no one on the line for the tickets and that there was a short security line to get passed. He did hug me as I left, which was a good thing on his part and both my mom and I appreciated him for that.
The funny part is, while waiting to get on my plane to get back home, spoiler, I watched some season finale clips of Game of Thrones and saw how Tyrion killed his father Tywin for being a horrible father. Why I made a connection to that I don’t know even for myself, I just find it funny. Speaking of Game of Thrones, ever since I became a fan of the show, I would ask “What would my last name be had I grew up in Westeros, or if Westeros was New York? Would it be Snow, Atlantic, Hudson, Brooklyn, Apple, what?” Had I had gone by my father’s last name, it would be Barnes. Nah, I like McKenna better.
What I took home were my experiences of what life is like in England and of what my father was like and the jokes about him. I shared those stories with my friends and family. My mom loved the stories I told when I made him mad or made him look like an idiot.
I would like to point out how after I got back and saw Gabriel Iglesias’s movie, The Fluffy Movie, I learned he shared stories of how he met his father after many years of not being in his life and how he felt. That had a huge impact on me, knowing that even celebrities that I love for entertaining me and being generally good people share similar problems as I do.
Will Smith also had problems with his father in his show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In the scene where his dad leaves him, he gets really mad, when the truth is that Will’s real father was never around, which made it more emotional.
I noticed that if I was raised by my father, I would be a totally different person. I’m glad I am who I am today, thanks to my friends and family.
Ever since that trip, we haven’t really emailed each other. He has made no attempt and neither have I. I ask myself if I should forgive him or not. Maybe email him to see what’s up. Either way, he missed out on what kind of person I have become.
Even though we don’t keep in contact much anymore, it doesn’t mean I still don’t think about him. He occurs in my dreams sometimes, but mainly, my mom and I make fun of him.