Written in Ink

To Talk With A Mom Who Abandoned You Or Not?

My birth mom abandoned my dad and I when I was an infant. He later remarried and I was raised by him and my stepmom.

Yesterday I got this email from my dad:

Bart,

In the middle of my workday yesterday, (name of a New Jersey liquor store) came on my caller I.D. and when I picked it up it was your biological mother who apparently owns that shop. Since I had not heard from her in at least a quarter of a century, the call was a surprise, even more so because she was trying to talk to me while serving customers. I have always liked the line from Portnoy’s Complaint “Doctor, with a life like mine, who needs dreams?”

As you probably can intuit, she would like to have some contact with you. Mom and I are in complete agreement here that this is completely your decision, not anything we should be dealing with.

I know your likely first response is going to be “Fuck her” but a lot of time is passed and I would always want to have some contact with my children, even if I had been a real dick. So I understand her motives On the other hand, I wouldn’t leave a kid.

Your mom always reminds me that Charlene really should give you some money from your grandmother’s estate, assuming that the 60 plus acres was ever sold and assuming she got some of it. That would be a cynical way to look at it.

In any case, I don’t like sending this email since I don’t want to stir up bad memories of get you upset. So do what you want and we still love you and, eventually, I will get to France!

Love,

Dad

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I replied that he can give her my email address and phone number, because damn I'm curious about why she would contact me after all this time. (It's a lot longer than 25 years since she talked to any of us. I think I saw her two or three times when I was like seven, but not enough times for me to even have any clue what she looks like. )

My friends are worried that this is a mistake, but I think I'm fairly protected.

If she's calling because she wants to ask for money, I'm a freelance writer so I don't really have any money to give.

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If she calls me because she's dying, I can't see it devastating me, because I have no emotional connection to her at all.

If she wants an organ donation, I'll just say "no."

She's in New Jersey and I'm in Europe so I don't have to see her face to face and hanging up the phone if she's a bitch/nut job is fairly easy.

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My dad says she used to be an alcoholic so maybe this is some weird 12 step thing to apologize to people you've hurt. If so, I'll give up five minutes of my time to help someone in recovery.

I sort of see no downside. But maybe I'm being naive.

It's all just so fucking weird.

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