‘Will you walk me down the aisle?’ It was SURREAL to see them together.’: Woman regains relationship with estranged father, ‘I needed to heal’

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“My name is Ana Moore and I am a 32-year-old first time mom. Basically, I am just trying to get through life being as happy as possible. Being a mom has opened a whole new side of me where emotions seem to flow and writing has become one of my ways to express them.

I don’t even know where to start my story. My mom and my dad met when my mom had recently divorced her first husband. My sisters were very young. They really didn’t have a relationship at that point, they were just friends and stayed in touch. My mom got pregnant with me by another man, and when she broke the news his response was, ‘I can give you money so you can get rid of it.’ He wanted nothing to do with me. I met him three times in my life. He died when I was 15. I don’t even know why or where his remains are. I don’t believe I want to know.

My true dad stepped up to raise me, but he and my mom didn’t get married until I was about four, and finally they started their life together. They made a living owning a little convenience store while I would run around the joint. On Saturdays, we would go to the big market and buy merchandise for the store. We would leave early (like 4 in the morning) and come back by 7 with a car loaded with groceries to put up and start selling. It was a normal, stable life.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

I remember on Sundays we would close the store in the afternoon and my dad would take us to a restaurant. He just loves seafood so we would go eat fish fairly often. I also remember a vacation when they took me to the mountains. We had a small car and I thought it wasn’t going to make it all the way, but it did. My mom and my dad took me on a walk in the morning and I remember we picked up mushrooms, to be honest I don’t know if we ate them. But I remember these kinds of wonderful moments.

After that, most of my childhood memories are just every day types of things, but I do remember one specific weekend, my mom sent me over to my grandparents ranch, and when I came back my dad was gone. No explanation was given to me, no reasoning, he was just not in my life anymore. As you can imagine, this was hard on an eight-year-old, the man that had raised her was out of her life. We started going to court and I remember the divorce dragged on for what felt like forever!

While my dad was away, I felt very confused. I didn’t really get an explanation of what happened, and my mom remarried rather quickly. I hated my stepdad. I think he had a lot to do with my dad being out of my life for so long. He was not a nice person, but he’s gone now so it doesn’t really matter anymore. I was very angry at my mom back then, but it was mostly because of my stepdad and the situation. He was an alcoholic, and things were very ugly for a while. I also resented my mom for leaving my dad.

During this time, I probably saw my true dad two or three times. I didn’t really see him again until I was 13, and after that we started visiting on and off. When I was old enough to drive and get around, I started seeing him more, but it wasn’t until my 20’s when I finally started really building a relationship with him again. You have to understand, it’s really hard to bring one of your parents back into your life when they were gone for so long.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

As I started visiting my dad more often, we tried to have lunch together once a week. That’s when I found out he tried to bring me a birthday cake every year since the divorce, but I never got to see them. To this day, I haven’t asked my mom if it’s is actually true. He gave me his explanation for their divorce. I already heard my mom’s side and they are similar, but not exactly the same. I suppose every story has two sides. I imagine I could ask them and really try to figure out what made them split up, but that’s not very important at this point, knowing the exact reason why they split up won’t change all those years they weren’t together.

I decided to bring my dad back in to my life because I knew he was getting older, and I didn’t want to miss any more time without him. I needed to heal our relationship because I feel like it was affecting me. He was always open to me being part of his life. He has other children and we have learned to get along. It’s still strange to this day, but we work through it. It’s still hard to remember to call him other than on holidays, but I try. If your dad is gone for so long, you sort of get used to not having him, and wanting to build a relationship feels like you’re getting to know a whole new person. My mom and dad started rebuilding their relationship when my stepdad died, and it gradually happened. It was very organic. The older I got, the better they got along.

My dad was not there for me for many things, but it’s not because he wouldn’t have if we had invited him, it’s because we didn’t tell him. Once I understood we were leaving him out, I made sure I would ask him to everything that was going on; my birthday, little family get togethers, funerals, and even some of my mom’s birthdays. I’ve made sure to visit him on his birthday and Father’s Day, or at least call him. Every time I’ve asked him to come, he has. And my mom has always been open and willing to go with me and visit my dad. Now that I live 14 hours away I go visit him every time I visit to Mexico and each time my mom goes with me.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

When I got engaged to my fiancé, my mom and I stopped by my dad’s house to say goodbye. He was so happy I had found someone to live my life with. I asked him, ‘Will you walk me down the aisle?’ My mom already hoped she would be the one and I honestly don’t think she believes my dad really deserved to be there as well, but she didn’t oppose. So, when my big day came my dad made the trip to walk me down the aisle. It was surreal for me to have my mom and my dad walking me to the man of my life.

Courtesy of Ana Moore

I now have a daughter and my parents adore her with everything they have. Every time we go visit my dad, my mother also comes along as both of them want my daughter to have memories of them, together. We eat lunch, we talk, we visit, and we play with her. My dad says he’s never seen a baby so beautiful. My mom is completely infatuated and can’t contain herself with my daughter, she just wants to eat her up.

My parents may have made a lot of wrong decisions, but I now know they did the best they could with what they had. What’s really important to me is how being divorced has not kept us from being a family. My daughter will know her grandparents are not together, but she will never think they don’t love her or we’re not a family.

I know my dad is not perfect, but everything I’ve described doesn’t allow you to see the type of man he really is. You must also know he’s not my real dad. You read that right. Remember how I said he had stepped up to raise me? That’s exactly what he did.

I will forever be grateful to my mom for choosing life. To my dad for raising me as his own daughter. To my biological dad for staying out of my life and allowing me to know what a father’s love should be like through another man. And to God for getting us through the mountains and valleys of life so we could learn family is much more than blood. Family is much more than a piece of paper. And not all families look the same.”

Courtesy of Ana Moore

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ana Moore of Texas. You can follow her on Instagram here or her website here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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