I was born in Philadelphia in the spring of 1989. My mom had recently moved down there for work and my dad had come over from Germany however many years earlier.
- My mother grew up in the house next door to where we live now. She has one sister and three brothers; one of which passed away in a motorcycle accident less than a mile from their house at the age of 18. None of her siblings had any children.
- My father grew up in Germany. He has a half-brother from his father’s first marriage and a half-brother and half-sister from his mother’s second marriage. Prior to leaving Germany he had a daughter, giving me an older half-sister. None of his siblings had children either, and to the best of my knowledge my half-sister doesn’t have children.
I forget the story of how they met, I just remember that it was a “whirlwind” romance. They met in December of 1987, got married in the summer of 1988, and had me just over 9 months later.
After I was born, my brother came as a surprise in the late summer of 1990. I don’t recall much from when we were a family. All I really know is what I’ve been told and the stories I’ve made up in my mind through old pictures. My mom was the primary bread-winner, working long crazy hours; my dad trained dogs and was my primary caregiver at the time, bringing me to training sessions and wherever else he had to go that day. It is my understanding that as an infant and toddler I was a “daddy’s girl” – though I don’t remember any of it, I’m almost certain that was the strongest point in time for our relationship.
I’m not sure how old I was, maybe around three, when my parents divorced. My brother and I moved with my mom back to her hometown to live with my grandmother, 6 hours away from where we lived as a family in PA.
After the divorce, my dad spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse. The hurt and impacts of his actions on me as I was growing up are extensive. I only learned of his addiction when I was in my late teens, it was difficult to comprehend his actions, or lack of actions, prior to that because all I had was the twisted reasoning I would create in my mind – nothing based on fact. Since learning about it, and up to this day, I use this knowledge in understanding, not excusing, his failed promises and relationships with my brother and me. He would say he was coming to see us and wouldn’t show; send my brother a Christmas card if they were speaking but wouldn’t send me one if we weren’t and the same the other way around; if we hadn’t talked for a few months or even a few weeks he wouldn’t send a card, call, or email on birthdays; those are just to name a few, I’m sure at some point I’ll end up going into greater detail on some other things if they arise as we go. Currently, after years of not paying child support and accumulated interest, he owes enough to put my brother and me through college twice over.
We shared a small apartment with my grandmother after the divorce. My mom continued to work a lot in order to provide what she considered a decent life for me and my brother. I don’t remember much from this time in my life, but I don’t have any negative memories of it and the stories I’ve been told seem to be generally positive. I know my mom faced a lot of personal challenges during this time. Mostly related to her upbringing and the somewhat bizarre and unfair family dynamics, but that’s her story to tell, not mine.