Tell me a story Daddy.
All stories are important and everyone has one. From the day we are born, our story begins.
I remember as a young child, in grade 3 or 4, we were given an assignment a few minutes before going home to lunch. Each of us were to write our autobiography. We were going to be working on it and drawing pictures to go with it that afternoon.
Classmates began to scribble immediately as I just sat in my place waiting for the bell to ring. I stared at the four words on my page. “I was born in…” How could I have forgotten?
There was no choice. I was afraid, but I was going to have to ask Mother.
“I’m so silly.” I had not yet learned to think myself stupid. “I can’t remember where I was born.”
It was then the pot with the remaining hot tomato soup landed across the kitchen from the stove where my Mother stood. She was furious.
“How dare they!” She began to pace. “They have no right.”
Taking a deep breath, she composed herself. The pacing stopped.
“You were born August 10, 1950, in Toronto General Hospital. That’s all they need to know.”
Then her rage, as it so often did, turned on me. “You don’t know how lucky you are. We didn’t have to adopt you. You could have ended up in an orphanage.” Mother paused. “You don’t put that in your story.”
Okay. Walking back to school, I repeated to myself the information I was told to write. It still didn’t sound familiar. Adopted. What did that even mean? An orphanage didn’t sound that bad. Daddy had read me the story about Pollyanna. Big bows and high buttoned shoes didn’t seem so bad.
When I was 45, sitting in the Windsor Ontario Family and Children’s Services offices having my non-identifying information read to me, I recalled that day.
“You were born at Toronto Grace Hospital.” The hospital for unwed mothers. My adoptive mother had not even allowed me to tell the truth that long-ago day.
Often the stories of our lives can hold more questions than answers. That does not make them any less important.
The most promising thing about our stories is that we have until the moment of our death to continue writing them. We fill in the blanks as we can.
Each of our stories are part of the Great Mystery. We should be curious about them. We need to embrace the adventure.