You Can't Choose Your Parents Continued...Take note, this is a continued...
My mom met Papa when I was 7 while living with my Grandparents in Japan. Papa was a Marine stationed in Iwakuni who rode a pretty blue Harley my mom fell in love with. She was at a party with a coworker on ba
My mom picked me up from my Grandparents for the weekend. During a 20 minute ferry ride, she explained to me she had met a man. This being only a year after my father leaving us both, I had no reaction. We went to a train station awaiting his arrival in Hiroshima. My mom did not explain to me he was an American. As the train doors opened, I looked at every suited Japanese man who stepped out. But none of them stopped to greet us. Then there came a Caucasian man who seemed to be coming towards us, but no way was this the man who my mom was speaking of. Then, he kneels down beside me and takes out his hand. "You must be Maika. I'm Dan."
I did not speak a lick of English then. The above first words were translated to me by my mom who held a English to Japanese dictionary in one hand for the first year of their relationship. "I" quickly took his hand and we started walking towards Mc Donald's. In Japan, "smart" means "skinny/thin". I looked up at my mom and expressed he was "smart". Papa heard me and thanked me without knowing I was not speaking of his intelligence. Once we sat down at Mc Donald's, my mom went to use the restroom and left her purse behind. Papa held up his index finger to say "watch" and he dug into the purse. I thought he was going to steal from my mom. He takes out her lip stick, draws lips using the side of his index finger and thumb. Then he would open them up like a hand puppet to make some sort of contact with me. He made funny noises and we laughed together. Our very first communication.
Shortly after meeting him my mom asked me how I felt if she was to marry him and we live together as a family. Not being able to talk to him, it was very hard to make any logical decisions. I said yes for the sake of my moms happiness and because I really wanted a father.
We lived in Japan for close to a year after this. Not being able to communicate with Papa, we found it easiest to watch cartoons and laugh. I also enjoyed riding on the back of his bike, which brought us together quicker.
We ended up moving to the states and Papa retired. I was 9 years old, put straight into a public school. I was tormented by the kids everyday at school for not being able to speak English. (Before we moved, i was outcasted by a class of 50 kids for my Father leaving me and then having an american father) A Chinese girl Linda stood up for me as much as possible, but I kept my self hidden away from the kids in recess with my Japanese books.
Thankfully, being put right into the culture, I was able to speak English in 3 1/2 months without an accent. However my Japanese was not as perfect as it use to be. My mom to this day speaks with me in Japanese, which has kept me fluent in both languages.
Papa was and is not the friendliest man in the world. At times a racist, opinionated, hot headed and mental. With my past growing up having trouble with my Father, I had already developed an anxiety disorder. Papa would yell, slam doors, curse after every word and taunt the neighbors. He was at one time a very heavy alcoholic. Police being cold for loud music, being taken to court for having too many dogs, not being able to eat at restaurants because we didn't have the "right server", spitting at people as we are walking thru a flee market and yelling obscene things... It was humiliating and scary at times.
I blamed myself for agreeing with the marriage for some time. Especially when I was in high school, Papa and I did not get along. The first 3 years of high school Papa went to CA to work. He would return for a week every 3 - 6 months if that. To me it felt natural for a Father figure to disappear at all the important times of my life.
When he did finally come back my senior year, I was already behind several credits to be able to graduate on time. Of course it was handled with yelling and speak of disgrace. I went and emancipated myself to drop out of school. The school assistant reached behind her for the paper work and said "sign here, date here. And I'm sorry, but sign here too" then a friendly, "good luck with your endeavor."
I moved out and did not speak to him for a year. I did my own screwing up and moved back in with them a couple of times since then, but our relationship went rocky after a couple of weeks every time.
I am 27 now and just this past year Papa has show some bright light. He looked at me in tears and explained to me how he could have been a better Father to me. He has over time come to realize how awful he was at setting examples for his daughter. Mind you, he owes me nothing. With a Father who left me at 6 and never looked back and having Papa who isn't of my own blood, I could not ask for a better replacement.
Despite his views on the world, he has taught me to become a woman with integrity, individuality, independence and respect not only for others, but for myself. Him realizing all that he had put me thru and how if he could go back and do things differently to be there for me when he wasn't means more to me than anything anyone else has expressed to me.
I've hurt everyday that my real father was not around. It took me some time, but I have finally come to terms with the fact Papa, my Step-Father is my Father and there isn't a need to wait for someone else to appear because I have already found him.
He isn't my blood Father, he isn't the nicest person in the world, but there isn't a single soul who loves me more than him and I will keep embracing this until the end.