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I Don’t Know Much: Kids

I Don’t Know Much: Kids

I don't know much about parenting, but I knew a kid once.

This really has nothing to do with the Packers outside of the fact that this is my Packer's fan blog. However, it brings up an interesting point about life, priorities, and fan hood.

I am fiercely loyal as a fan (did I need to say that?). As many of you guys around here, I would go down fighting in a ball of flames to display my allegiance to this football team. At times, again like many of you, I often think of this pursuit as invariable and inestimable. Yet, sometimes life catches you peaking in the backfield and suddenly you find yourself reevaluating your position. That happened this weekend, and since this blog highlights my life as a Packer fan, I thought I would share the story.

Corey Behnke inferred that I use this place for therapeutic purposes. In fact, he is spot on. Writing strictly in my stream of consciousness is wonderfully curative, and more than anything, this little dung hole right here has gone a long way in purging some of the bitterness and hate I have towards myself and the world in general (me bitter, no way). The unfortunate part is that you guys are my therapists (that just finally hit home) so I worry about the level I care I truly am receiving.

That said, as a younger man, having an outlet like this would have gone a long way. I was different cat back then, more concerned with the next bong hit than the next personal breakthrough. I made a lot of mistakes, hurt a lot of people, and threw away a world of potential before I could even drink. Those mistakes were, and still are to some point, a huge personal yoke that I have carried around for longer than I can remember.

While on this youthful journey of irresponsibility and poignant wretchedness, I happened to somehow fall in love with a cute little red-haired mop-top that I absolutely adored. As with all young adults, our relationship was vigorous and much to my surprise, in 1994, we were rewarded with a son that could not have been more of a dead ringer than to yours truly.

The girl immediately left me.

Families become protective in those types of situations, and I suppose you can't blame them. Regardless, I was completely shattered. Granted, I was young and dumb, but I was hardly a menace, so I took the whole "why" thing pretty hard. And, as many young people do, instead of rising to the occasion, I chose to bow to the pain.

The next couple of years were rough, and it's fairly amazing how far I fell before hitting the proverbial rock bottom.  In the end, I was wholly beat down by life; beat down hard.

Although there would be a few potholes over the next couple of years, my life came to a head in August of 1997. Amidst a bevy of authority figures, and completely caught off guard, I was asked to give up my son for adoption to his mother and new husband. I didn't want to do it. I really didn't.

I don't know why I did, and no one tried to talk me out of it.

As an adoptee myself, I had a unique view of everything, and perhaps I wanted to ensure that the youngster had a chance to grow up in a two parent home which was something he would never have with me as a father. Alternately, it may have just been my way of saying I'm sorry to everyone around me, sacrificing my own desires for the sake of mother and child. The last contact I had with his mother was a fleeting phone call filled with an empty promise of periodic pictures and perhaps a rare update, both of which never materialized.

That all changed on Wednesday.

I was sitting around working on my homework. It was a delicate balance of advanced rhetoric and the what I consider boring task of reading Plato's dialogues. At the same time, my facebook account is linked to my desktop on my computer, so whenever there is a pertinent update it pops up with a rather annoying little submarine type pinging noise. Right in the middle of Gorgias, somewhere on question 8 million, a message pops up in front of what I am writing.

"This is your son, since I don't know anything about you; I thought I should get to know you."

I instantly went into complete and total shock. Before I even got to the end of the sentence I broke down. I absolutely couldn't think straight at all. It's funny what you do in moments like that and in my own moment of fogginess I decided to email my professor and get an extension on my assignment. I hope this stands as a testament to my character today, but regardless, that was my first reaction.

My second reaction was to tell him how absolutely thrilled I was to hear from him, and offer to arrange something with his folks so that we could talk in-depth. As the story goes, this now 16-year-old young man had not sought his parents' permission to contact me. He had in fact been blocked from all contact with me, and I am assuming that through a delicate process only a teenager can figure out, he managed to bypass those restrictions and get into contact with me. He was curious and he had questions.

The third thing I did is call the cops. How shitty is that? My son, whom I haven't heard from ever, finally gets a hold of me and I have to call the cops on him to make sure it's okay to talk. What a sad world we live in, and what a heartbreaking situation for a young man to have to deal with (he told me he had been waiting 6 weeks to pull the trigger on that message).

Much to my surprise the police said go for it. They sent me to an officer who said that this situation was not considered a police matter, and he commended me for making the right decision in both calling and urging the young man to tell his parents. It was at this point I decided to go for it.

We talked back and forth for several hours. I thought that each message I sent was going to be the last, and I tried to get everything I have wanted to say for 15 years into what might be the only two hours I get until 2012. I told him the entire story. I was able to tell him my side, and how difficult it has been to deal with this decision and my inability to take it back. I assured him that no matter what I was always here if he needed me. We got to talk music (several identical favorites) and generally tried to have a conversation in one of the most unique situations ever. It was surreal.

I ended the conversation again urging him to tell his parents so that we could move forward. My thought was that if this child really wanted to find out more about his biological father, his parents might find it in their heart to let that happen. I heard from him briefly the next morning, and have not heard a thing since.

It's all I can think about now. Did he tell his parents and get in trouble? Is that it for another 2 years until he turns 18? I just don't know what to do? I don't want to intrude, but I also want it to be known that I am here and will not ever turn my back on this child again. I'll only play the fool one time.

I'm scared and I don't know what is going to happen next. I don't what my rights are, and more importantly I haven't figured out what the responsible decision is here. Being adopted, I know how it feels to wonder like this young man must be doing right now. I pray to the powers that be to let him have the opportunity to put that behind him. I guess all I can do is wait.

I am such a different person than that confused and depressed young man in 1997, and I try (often unsuccessfully) to continue to improve on that statement each and every day. That said, regardless of the outcome, things like this give me a great perspective on life. I periodically do an evaluation of what's important to me and for the most part it's a pretty standard list that always includes the Green Bay Packers. When something like this hits you in the face, you realize that some things are in a category far beyond our simple passions in life. They are times that call for us to take a moment of kairos and make the right decisions. I hope I can do just that.

I would climb any mountain to have the opportunity to know this young man for the rest of his life.

I'd even root Vikings.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jersey Al's picture

Alex,

You are a powerful writer when you write from the heart. I still remember your article about your relationship with your father. Personally, i think you have a book in you.

Now, I'm not sure what advice I can give you about this situation. Perhaps you should contact the Adoption Agency. I'd imagine they can tell you what your rights are, if any.

Don't just let it drop, though...

Al

PackersRS's picture

I'd advise you to wait a few months and then make contact.

If he makes contact again in a few months, it'll mean that he has permission to, or that his urge to get to know you better is greater than his fear of the prohibition.

And if he doesn't, he won't have had permission, and doesn't want to disobey his parents.

Either way, after 2 months, if he hasn't contacted you, he won't till he's 18. So, if you make contact, if they find out and prohibit you to make contact any further, you won't lose nothing more than you would if he hadn't contacted you.

I think it's a matter of seeing what legal actions could be taken by their part, by your part, and then going for it.

You have already said you'd even root for the vikings, for christ sake!

I don't have children myself, so my advice probably is unfounded.

But I've had serious problems, and always liked to hear other people's solutions to what I was going through.

And to lighten things up, try to bring the young man to the Green and Gold side of the force!

Talking about it, did you tell him about your site? He could get to know you a lot through it...

Tyler Bohms's picture

This was one of the best pieces I've read on this site, and it's primarily because it's honest and open.

Writing is one of the most therapuetic devices for a lot of people, and some thrive in that moment of vulnerability as you just did.

Figure out your rights and what you can do legally, then go after it!

Good luck.

AaronInSTL's picture

Thank you for sharing this, Alex. It's not often that you get a true sense of who people are that write sports-related blogs.

Continue to be patient.

FITZCORE1252's picture

WOW!

My nephews biological father gave up custody so my sisters new husband could adopt him, he just turned 16.

My sister married a friggin' saint and it couldn't have worked out better for my nephew. Randy (brother in law) really treats Logan (nephew) like his own, always has since he came into his life 10 years ago.

I hope your son landed in a similar situation.

Just be patient, he has shown interest and contact has been made, everything else will fall into place. It always does.

GBP 4 LIFE

JohnRehor's picture

I've always thought the mark of a good writer is when something is written from the heart.

Without a doubt, this was one of the most heartfelt things I have ever read. To have the strength and courage to discuss deeply personal issues in a forum not designed for such is a testament to you.

Remember if you ever felt like you were the only one with personal issues, you're not. I just appreciate your willingnes to share it with your readers. The Packer fandom runs deep, and family runs even deeper.

Thank you for letting us be part of your family, if only in a small way.

Asshalo's picture

A lawyer might be expensive, but they're able to assess the legal liability of just about any action you may take. Learn you rights. Maybe there's a legal option for you to speak with him. Research related law too before you start asking questions?

I don't know your personal history with the parents or how they would react to this, but an obvious option to explain to them what happened and see if you can set something up. It's just that If he hasn't talked to you yet, I would assume they have gotten to him or he i afraid of backlash (stuff you have already contemplated). It's just that it seems like the ball is in their court.

I recently watched a movie called RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, about a girl with (probably a much more troubled past) and how it affects her now (identity, family relations) and such. If I had a heart it definitely would have broken it. It's like she was trapped by her history, especially when around people who were aware of that history (family). I guess what I am getting to (in my limited knowledge of the situation) is you probably deserve some respect from the mother of the child.

Asshalo's picture

It's on Netflix instant play for anyone interested. Although the upper-middle class connecticut setting makes me want to barf.

Nycheesehead's picture

Loyal follower here...before reading I said to myself I am so sick of these so called Packers fans having even an ounce of respect for the queens...but ur blog hit home bro I have no advice but fellow cheesehead to another I truly hope it works out for you...even if tht means your conversion to the dark side.

Max's picture

Thanks for sharing this, Alex. I don't have much advice for you other than to be patient. Things have a funny way of working out, but I have a feeling that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Gbpfan's picture

I don't really know what to say. But I have to say something after reading this.

Extremely moving story. It's great to know that, in even the most dedicated fans, important things still take over. This post is, in my opinion, required reading material for every fan of a professional sport.

The best of luck to you going forward, my thoughts are with you.

Go Pack Go!

Bryce's picture

Wow. When I saw the title I was like, "No way, I'd never root for the 'queens." Then I read it, and now I agree. If I was in your situation, I would never root for the Packers again if it would make a difference.

My wife and I don't have kids yet, so I don't know if my advice will go real far. But, as a teacher who works with teenagers all day every day, I'd say this: it doesn't take much for kids to get scared, and they're not always thinking rationally. So, maybe he was forbidden from contacting you, and he did anyways, and now he's scared. Or, maybe he hasn't brought it up to his mother and adopted father yet because he's afraid of their reaction. The list could go on, all I'd say is, realize that on some level he's probably scared and conflicted, and that will probably influence how he handles all of this. I'll be praying for you.

Erik's picture

As everyone has said before me, great, great article, Alex. I can't even begin to understand your situation, but your writing goes a long way to letting a dude like me that comes from such a different world to at least be able to peer in on it.

I wish you nothing but the best on this.

MushroomCloudMoFo's picture

Alex,

I can't offer much as far as tactical advise, but remember it's important to be strong and rational when you approach this (it sounds like you're off to the right start).

My father in-law did the same thing you did, and re-kindled his relationship with his daughter when she was 13. While I wouldn't call their situation storybook per se, they do have a healthy relationship with very frequent interaction. It is possible to do, it just takes work and understanding.

Good luck, and definitely post updates; this was one of the best posts I've read in a while.

packerhq.net's picture

Fantastic Alex,,,Thank you for sharing. It really is amazing how much reconnecting goes on at facebook.
Just keep your eyes,ears and heart open and your son will contact you again soon.

Best

Wiz

The Good Kid's picture

" I also want it to be known that I am here and will not ever turn my back on this child again. "

You NEVER turned your back on the child, Alex. You did what you thought in your heart was best for the child at the time, so it WASN'T wrong. PLEASE, try with ALL of your mite to pound that into your brain. You may regret that you did that, BUT you did the right thing IMO. You may think you didn't, but I REALLY think you did from your writing which by the way was VERY moving. You're a good man, Alex & make sure that you TRULY BELIEVE THAT. Be patient & things WILL fall into place!

I really don't know what else to say, but to put this link up for you, because I think it really can help you feel better about this truly unique situation that seems to be really troubling you right now. It may be cheesy, but hey we're Packer fans, so to me it's only fitting...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9K4BKkLaCI

IronMan's picture

First of all, I have no advice, but I hope everything works out for the best.

Alex, you really should write a book. (or several)

I think I have read 4 books my entire life. Its just not my thing. But if you ever wrote a book, I would be the first one in line to buy it, regardless of the subject. You are THAT good.

Gbpfan's picture

Seconded. I wish I could write like that. I could finally get a solid grade from my English teacher... ;)

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