Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Joys of NOT being a Father
DNA Paternity Testing, The Past, etc...

The Fed Ex package came about two weeks ago. Fairly decent weather. Wonderful afternoon.

But I had a package coming and I was, unfortunately, expecting it.

I had, for one of the few times in my life, choose to act like an adult and do the right thing. Take this swab out of the sterile wrapping, scrape the inside of my cheek a couple of times, then stick the swab in another sterile tube.

Seal up the pre-paid envelope thing. Call for a package pick-up. Done.

No pain, no sweat.

An ex-girlfriend had called four days prior. She and I had determined years ago that her daughter was not our daughter. Mathematically impossible, given that this beautiful child would've been born three months old, even if the pregancy had lasted the full term (it didn't.)

But her ex-husband, after years of denying he even had a child, all of the sudden wants proof that he is the father. Though he's never even bothered to meet his daughter, no birthday presents, or Christmas cards, no contact in almost seven years.

More importantly, he wanted proof, for some reason, that I wasn't the father.

So I took my first - and hopefully last - paternity test.

No pain, no sweat.

Yesterday, I got the results back, as did the mother. In a week's time, I go from shoving a Q-Tip in my cheek to finding out, once and for all, that I'm not a Dad.

It didn't really hit me until today the true ramifications of the possibility of actually being someone's father.

Frightening thought. Terrifying, actually.

I could've stuck a little piece of me in an envelope and, days later, I find out I was a dad - a horrible dad, someone who's never met his own flesh and blood.

How would I have told my folks? How would I explain the sudden appearance of a first-grader in my life to colleagues and friends? What about all that early childhood development stuff? And what about the "Dad's Anglo, but Mom's Latina" shit - does the child take my name after ears with only her mom's family name? What kind of bad genes/baggage/parenting would I really have to offer?

I can't take care of myself - how the hell would I have taken care of a child?

Fate can be funny sometimes. After pondering the various what-ifs for a few hours, I realized something amazing about myself.

I took a frigging DNA test not to prove anything, not out of a sense of bravado, and not even to prove that a six-year-old - that I've never met - wasn't my child.

I took the test simply because it was the right thing to do. Didn't call anybody to ask advice. Didn't think twice. I was asked, and I just...did. I don't get to do that much.

No pain, no sweat.

Just a Q-Tip and an envelope.

Got to admit, its pretty hard to write about it, though.


Anonymous said...

I can emphathize, brother ... though my worries hit right away and stayed through the week ... goodness that was an awful week.

Man, from one guy who's been there to another, I have to say that is a really, really, well-written piece. You have a gift, brother, for telling a story the right way ... putting people there with you as you tell it. Part of what makes ZenfoPro such a great read, dude.

Peace J,

Chewie said...

J- you are a testiment to the real man.. even thou you knew that it wasn't yours and you had done the math.. when asked to take the ultimate test to prove the facts.. you stood up like a man and did what you needed to do.. if people in this world were half the man you are.. this would be a much better place to live.. i give you a standing ovation and i am proud to call you my friend...

btw.. i also give you a sigh of relief.. you will be an excellent father when the time comes.. but as with me.. i know you are a few years away from being there


Smurf said...

I bet sweety! I can't even imagine. It sounds almost like even though you were scared there was a part of you... somewhere that almost really wondered if you were. When you do become a dad, you will be the WORLDS BEST DAD. I have NO DOUBTS about that. Having children makes you grow up fast... but luckily that is not a worry for you in this situation. I love and miss you.

Carla said...

You'll make a great dad. I've never met you, but I think you will.

Trust me, I'm rarely wrong. (hohoho)