Sunday, November 16, 2008

Found but Lost

This is going to be kind of a long and sad post. As most of you know, I have never known my dad. The above two pictures are the only ones I have of him. I was 12 days old in the pictures. Through the years I have thought a lot about him. My mom never talked about him much. All I have ever known is that he and my mom met on the beach and were never married. He had some problems with drug abuse and that is the reason my mom gave for them separating. Over the years I have looked in California phone books online to try and find him. Turns out there are a lot of men named Robert Griggs. I didn't really know what else to do. I was also afraid of what I might find. In my heart I knew he'd be gone (as in passed away). I don't know why I felt this way, but for as long as I can remember I've known he was no longer with us. I recently found out that my feelings were correct and I am heart broken. It's strange how you can miss someone and something you've never even known and feel so much sorrow over it. I haven't talked about this much and not a lot of people know, but I think it will help me to share.

Not too long ago I googled my name just for fun. I thought for sure our blog would come up, which it did. Something else also came up that caught my eye. It was my maiden name on a website called Zaba Search. I had never heard of this website before, but apparently people can post messages in hopes that someone they are looking for will read it. Someone was looking for a Dalana Griggs whose mom's name was Donna. The message said that Donna was with a man named Robert in the 70's and they had a daughter together. The person who wrote the message referred to Robert (or Bobby as he was called) as their brother. They included in the message that their brother had since passed away, and that's how I learned.

With a name as different as mine and with all the other names correct, I knew I was the Dalana they were looking for. I felt so many emotions all at once. Mostly sadness that I'd never get the chance to know my father in this life, but also excitement for the chance to make contact with some of my family I've never known on that side. I also felt loved because someone from his side of the family remembered that I existed and still thought of me and cared enough to find me. It would have been neat if that person would have been my dad, but I'm grateful anyway.

I posted a message back for this person (my dad's sibling) and it turns out it was a younger half brother of his. We emailed back and forth and just this last week we talked on the phone. My emotions have been all over the place. It's kind of hard to sort through it all and to know exactly what to make of it. My dad died about 10 years ago of heart and drug related problems. He was never fully able to remain clean. From what I understand, he would do good for a while and then return to drugs and alcohol. Kind of sad that in the end that is what took his life. He struggled with his addictions his whole life basically. He did marry twice and ended up having two more children. I have two brothers, one named Bobby Jr. and another named Pier. One of the boys' mothers was Hispanic and the other ones mother was from Central America. They both live in California and are somewhere around 18 and 21 years old. This uncle I've been talking with (Steve) has tried to keep in contact with them, but has lost track. It's strange to think I have 2 brothers out there somewhere. I wonder if we look alike and if we are the same at all? My dad's mother and father have both passed too, along with a half sister. There's another half brother of his still living and a few cousins from what I understand. Kind of sad, but his sister passed of drug related problems also and his mother (my paternal grandmother) passed away of lung problems from a life time of smoking. I am so grateful the gospel came into my life as a teenager and steered me away from these behaviors. With my family history, I'm genetically predisposed to having addictions to those kinds of things. Even if I only had tried them once, I could have been hooked. Scary.

I could go on and on about my feelings and the things I've found out from talking to Steve about my dad and their side of the family. Even though he's not living anymore, my love for him has increased the more I've learned about him. It's made me mourn more for the dad I never had the chance to know and the relationship we never had. Just for fun, here are a few random things I've found out about him.
~ His hair was naturally as curly as the above pictures show (that's not a perm)! I only got an annoying wave and frizziness.
~He was quite athletic in track and field and in football he was a good kicker and kicked the best bare footed. Again, I got none of the athleticism.
~He served in the military.
~He worked in a machine shop and learned to be a good machinist.
~He was a staight A student.
~His mother had him when she was only 14 or 15 years old. From what I understand, her brother served in the war and came home for a visit and brought a friend along. She got pregnant by the friend during that visit. Some wanted her to give the baby up for adoption. She didn't, and never heard from the guy again. My dad never had a relationship with his own father to pattern that kind of a relationship after.
~We look alike and even my kids look like him. I emailed Steve some of our family pictures and he said he couldn't get over how much we looked alike. He called his family in to take a look and they all agreed that I looked like him all right. He said even my kids have his features. Kind of weird that someone we don't even know is such a part of us.

Sounds like a good guy with some serious struggles. I'm grateful that one day I'll have the chance to get to know him and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm grateful for two amazing fathers for my children. I'm grateful for George Parker and the good father figure he was for me during my teenage years. I'm grateful for two honorable father in laws who I couldn't love more. I'm grateful for this new found uncle and for his efforts and interest in trying to find me. When I asked him what he thought made him want to keep in touch, he just said he's always wondered why some families don't stay close. I look forward to keeping in touch with him. Most of all, I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who has always been there for me and for the opportunity I have had to form a relationship with him. I know that he has never lost track of me nor will he.


About 7 months pregnant with Cole I started to have some pain from my bottom wisdom teeth trying to come through. I went to the dentist and was told they needed to come out, but I'd have to wait until I had the baby. It's been pretty miserable! Who has problem with their wisdom teeth in their 30's? I thought they were supposed to come in during the teen years. I have been really dreading having it done because they told me I needed to go an oral surgeon and be put to sleep to have them out. I have never been put to sleep before, and it has been one of my biggest fears. The pain finally got the best of me, and I made the appointment to have it done anyway.

Friday was the day and I am happy to say that I survived and just 2 days later am doing well enough to blog about it. It has been pretty uncomfortable and 800 mg of Ibuprofen has been my best friend, but it is still not as bad as I had expected it to be. The anestetic didn't even make me too loopy afterwards, so I don't have any funny stories to share. I have some of the good drugs for the pain, but am too chicken to take them for fear they will make me crazy. It hurts to open my mouth and my face hurts to the touch. My cheeks are pretty swollen, but not as bad as the above picture. Mark thought it would be funny to do some photo shopping there.

A big thanks to Brian and Kamber who watched Seth for us and brought us over some chicken potato soup on Friday night. Kamber even took the time to puree some of it for me. How nice is that!? Thanks also to Mom Bishop who brought over some delicious chicken noodle soup the next day. I'm pretty spoiled I guess. Both soups were just what the doctor ordered! And of course, thanks to Mark for taking the day off work and for faithfully bringing me ice packs and taking such good care of Cole too.

I am so glad it's over and look forward to a healed and pain free mouth just in time for Thanksgiving. You'd think I might have lost some weight with it hurting so much to eat for the last several months, but no such luck.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cole's Blessing

I crocheted this blanket for him to use on his blessing day.

Cole in his white blessing shirt and khakis.

I think this is a pretty sweet picture.

The men who stood in the circle (minus Gary Gunnerson).

What would you say the frosting decoration to the left of the wording was? Booties, of course! I got teased a bit by some who didn't think they looked much like baby booties (my only other option was a stork).

On Sunday Cole was 2 months old. I can hardly believe it! We were also able to bless him. It was a very nice day for us. Those that attended were Mom and Dad Bishop, Reed & Alysa Bishop, Brian, Kamber, Samantha and Spencer Bishop, George and RaNae Parker, Rhonda Parker and her girls Camille, Aubrey, Alicia and Meredith, my mom Donna and her friend Jeff, and Gary Gunnerson (Dorothy was really sick). Mark gave Cole a really sweet blessing and we had a nice testimony meeting. Cooper bore his testimony for the first time. We were really proud of him. Mark and I also bore our testimonies. It was so nice to have our family there with us. Mark's family stayed with us for all of our meetings and then we went home and had some lunch together. The Parkers were also there for the lunch. It meant a lot to have them with us for the special day (thank you for driving down George and RaNae). It was a great day and we had fun welcoming baby Cole.

Halloween 2008

The group (minus Spencer) at Grandpa and Grandma Bishops.

Out trick or treating (doesn't Ella look crazy w/ black hair)?

These days this is how most pictures I try to take of all the kids together turns out.

Our cutie dinosaur.

I'd feel like a bad mom if I didn't post a picture of our kids on Halloween. Like so many others, I am not a fan of Halloween. It always seems like more trouble than it's worth. I actually found some really inexpensive costumes this year, so that made me happy. This was John's first year not dressing up. He really still wanted to, but we told him 13 was too old. He did get to go to his first dance/social at school and loved it. One girl asked him to dance and he said he had to go to the bathroom. How funny is that?! He mostly hung out with his friend Spencer. Anyway, Cooper was a Karate guy (the outfit was $1.50 from Savers), Seth was some type of dinosaur(I'd got him a used Lion costume from Other Mothers, but he found this old one of Cooper's and liked it better), Ella was a witch (which worked well w/ her present teeth situation) and little Cole just wore a Halloween pant and shirt set that said "Daddy's little Monster" on it.

Our ward didn't have a Trunk or Treat, so we went around our neighborhood and then went over to trick or treat at Mom and Dad Bishop's house and that was about it. The kids seemed pleased enough. Glad it's over for another year and we can move on to Fall and the beginning of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are a few pics.