As I wrote in my last journal, my Grandma gave me my Mom's phone number with the urging to call her. With my phone fully charged I pushed her number several times, stopping before the last number a few times before I could bring myself actually do it.
Her phone rang seven times and then she answered.
I wished her a happy mother's day, and she started to cry. I didn't know what to say but we exchanged questions and answers, and we talked quite a bit about New York City. It took a while for me to feel comfortable with her but the more we talked the more comfortable we became. After a while it was like talking with Grandma, I was at ease with her.
I told her I was sorry about Grandpa, and she was silent for a while, and then I mentioned that day's visit with him.
Oh...Sam...you have no idea how much that means to...us, he just wants to be a part of your life. And Sam, so do I, if you want me to?
I just started crying. I couldn't stop either.
I put her on speaker when my Grandma came into my bedroom and we all just talked, my Grandma holding me and wiping the tears from my eyes.
I would have talked to her longer but my phone's battery was down to 5% and I had to get off. I told her I would talk to her soon and we gave several I love you's before hanging up.
Even though she gave up her parental rights to me me the condition for my Grandma to adopt me was that it would be an open adoption and she would have a role in my life.
Now I have her back.
I'm lucky and thankful, and fortunate.
After my battery was recharged I rode my bike over to my Grandparent's house, and sat for a while on the curb down the street, trying to get the courage to go over there.
I knock on the door and my Grandma answered and greeted me with a really long and overdue hug. It's the first time I can remember even talking with her, despite her living just a few miles from me.
She led me into the den, where my Grandpa was sitting on the couch, his feet propped up on a ottoman. He had dozed off, and their Black Lab was sleeping on the couch next to him. She didn't even get up, she just looked at me and went back to sleep. I've never had a dog do that, especially around a stranger.
My Grandma woke him up and told him I was there, and he stood up and smiled at me and extended his hand, which I shook then hugged him. Oh Sam, he kept saying, never finishing his sentence.
I sat next to him and just took in the living room, so much of my other family's past was there and I felt a bit lost and awkward there. He told me things that I think I need to get used to hearing, like "You're big just like your father" and "You have you mother's face".
He was talking to me as his grandson.
We continued to talk, and I used my surroundings to ask what I hoped would be okay questions. He was in Vietnam in the Army, saw combat and a lot of his buddies die, and I thanked him for that. The service will make you a man Sam, he told me, but it'll take something from you that you'll never get back.
I didn't ask for details. I just couldn't.
We talked about baseball, found we like the same Major League team, and as a kid he played Little League and was a pitcher like me. When he was pitching in games he would zone out and imagine he was in his backyard playing with his friends.
I do the same thing or I just freeze up.
We went on to talk about music, and he filled me in on seeing Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix in concert, and how loud The Who were! My ears never stopped ringing after that show Sam! He pointed to the stereo on the other side of the room and had me look at his CD collection, all 60's and 70's music.
As the sunlight dimmed he started to doze off, and he told me he was sorry that he had to call it a day. With Molly the Labrador leading the way I helped him into the den that was now his bedroom, and hugged him again and told him I loved him...
He told me he had always loved me, no matter how things were.
I understood that now.
I went to say goodbye but he stopped me mid word:
Goodbye's are permanent Sam. See ya Charlie isn't!
See ya Charlie I said, and I walked out of the room and my Grandma guided me into the kitchen and into her arms where I just lost control. I just couldn't stop crying, but she was there for me, a stranger a few hours earlier and now a grandma.
She asked me if I was thirsty and after smelling the freshly brewed coffee I asked for a cup and she started laughing, laughing even harder when I told her I take it black.
I asked her what was so funny and she told me my Dad used to drink black coffee when he came over to see my Mom when they were kids, something she though was so odd for a kid!
We sat in the kitchen while I inhaled a piece of apple pie and enjoyed my coffee, and she she told me there was something she wanted me to see. She returned to the kitchen with a thick photo album, with my name on the front cover. Inside were pictures of my Mom pregnant, and some of me taken while I was still in the hospital. Each page was a chronology of my life, year by year, and at the end was one of me on the pitcher's mound in the game I played against my cousin Jake.
He looks at this everyday Sam...everyday.
My Grandma held my hand and told me my Grandpa was always interested in me, he just didn't know how to make the first step to reconcile our relationship. Aunt Carol was the always the family peacemaker, and she made it happen.
It was almost dark, and before I left I asked her when I could come over again and with a smile she told me "Anytime Sam, the door's always open to you!". I hugged her and told her see ya Charlie and we both laughed and smiled.
I was tears my entire bike home, and my Grandma greeted me in the driveway with a hug but we didn't say anything.
We didn't need to.
I sent my Dad a text and told him about things, and a promise to call him the next day. I sent Austin a similar text, then called my boyfriend Matthew and he told me he'd have the house to himself for a few hours after school on Monday.
I needed him then but I couldn't have him, and more tears came along with needed sleep.