Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dallas Finally Meets His Dad

Dallas and I flew to Memphis with only three carved-in-stone plans; a. Bingo night with Grandpa (he ended up being too sick to play); b. Spend 2 ½ days in Missouri with Jodee and her family; and c. Celebrate Fat Tuesday on Beale Street with Uncle Tim.

Dallas made it clear all along that he really didn’t have any desire to see his birth father. He was pretty sure that if he did see Terry he’d want to tell him off. After Wayne passed, Dallas was especially grateful for the planned outing to Missouri, as he knew a funeral wasn’t the place for a father/son confrontation.

I gently encouraged my son to not let the opportunity to meet Terry go by. I didn’t want him to have any regrets. I wrote about the “daddy place” a couple of posts back, and I knew my child wanted to have some questions answered—needed some closure.

Monday afternoon we got ready to leave Jodee’s home and head back to Wayne’s house in Mississippi. Carm prepared a fabulous lunch for us. The pasta and shrimp was crazy good. As we were sitting at the bar in the kitchen, Dallas got a text message. “I’d like to take you and your mom out to dinner before you leave town.”

Dallas was still not sure he wanted to see Terry at all. “We’re having with lunch with Carm and Jodee right now. I’ll be back at Grandpa’s tonight.” Dallas told Terry he’d contact him when we got back to Mississippi. It was 20 minutes before the confirmation text came, “K”.

During the five-hour drive back “home” I again nudged Dallas toward seeing his dad. He agreed with me about not wanting to have any regrets, so he sent Terry a text message telling him he had homework in the morning, but would be free at 2 or 3. Terry said that sounded great.

The schoolwork took a bit longer than Dallas had anticipated, but Dallas kept in touch with Terry. At 3:30 my son sent a text message; “I’m all done and we’re heading into Memphis.” He told him we were free till 6:00. Terry responded, “Have fun.” Dallas laughed. “Well, I guess we’re NOT meeting him after all.” Are you kidding me? Terry was going to blow Dallas off? Unbelievable.

Dallas and I wanted to eat at the original Neely’s location. We love watching The Food Network and we didn’t want to be in Memphis and not have some authentic BBQ. Neely’s did not disappoint—it was delicious. We walked in the rain, took pictures down by the river, and just kicked around.

A few minutes after 6:00 we headed to Uncle Tim’s house, where we met his wife and little daughter, Mattie for the first time. Mattie is just three years old and she’s the youngest of Dallas’s cousins on that side of the family.

While visiting with Tim and his family Dallas was texting wildly. I felt like the mommy of a 10 year old. I wanted to say, “put that phone down right now.” My son looked at me and rolled his eyes.

At around 7:30, Tim, Dallas and I walked out to my rental car. “Apparently”, Dallas said, “We’re meeting Terry on Beale Street at 9:00.” The wild texting was going on between Dallas, Terry, and Terry’s mom – who lives in Michigan! She was mad at Dallas for not making time for his dad, and Terry was saying we were only going to give him an hour (or something like that). Hmmmm…3:30-6:00 is 2 ½ hours! Whatever. Drama!

Dallas knows that his uncle doesn’t get along real well with Terry, so he gave Tim the option of staying home. No, we’d planned to spend Mardi gras together, and he’d been looking forward to it – as did Dallas and I.

Down on Beale Street there was no one around! Fat Tuesday on Beale Street in Memphis, and there’s not a soul in sight. Crazy! We had The Hard Rock CafĂ© to ourselves, so we chatted with the waiter, drank a beer, ate onion rings, and settled the bill. We walked up the street to meet Terry.

Dallas was not even crawling when his dad left, and now Terry was shaking his grown son’s hand. He hugged me. He was accompanied by his fiancĂ©, who is lovely and kind. Dallas talked about his music, his plans for the future, and the classes he was taking. Terry chitchatted about this and that.

When I met Jodee I told her she had Terry’s teeth, and now, as I sat across the table from my ex-husband and listened to him talk, I thought, “yep, Jodee certainly DOES have his teeth.” And, by the way, she has her grandma’s eyes. Dallas shares many of the same mannerisms as his dad, his uncle, and his grandfather. After an hour or so, my son looked at me and said, “I’m ready to go.”

No pictures were taken that night—Dallas wasn’t comfortable with that idea. He said he didn't want to hurt his dad (Tom). Terry’s girlfriend graciously understood. Terry hugged Dallas goodbye, kissed me on the cheek, thanked me for bringing Dallas to visit, and we were gone.

Within a few minutes, the drama began. Terry made phone calls and accused me of “ambushing” him. Dallas wasn’t to be blamed because I had “brainwashed him”. The claim was made that Terry’s mom and my own mother both agreed that I “kept Dallas hidden from Terry”. Oh, My Gosh! And I thought things had gone so well too. Sheesh.

Both mother’s denied ever saying such a thing – or even thinking anything like that. I was so angry. None of them walked the streets with me when I searched for my meth-addicted son. None of them cried their eyes out during the days and weeks when we didn’t know if Dallas was even alive out there. None of them went to County jail every weekend to visit my son, nor did they drive 100 miles to the State Prison to see him. If it weren’t for Tom and I (and God’s grace) Dallas wouldn’t be here—healthy and whole.

I’m sorry there are people who believe Terry’s lies. But you know, I think my son finally found closure. I think the questions have finally been answered.

Uncle Tim, Mattie Grace, Dallas

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