For the record my journey still has a few miles and hopefully I will complete it real soon. I posted this blog on my myspace page this Father’s Day and it received rave reviews:
Although i've interviewed the likes of Tavis Smiley and several WNBA players no individual intrigues me more than Terry. Through no fault of my own I have very little knowledge of Terry All I know about him is that one June night in 1980 him and Gail Daise made a decision that produced a baby on Feb. 28, 1981.
I can honestly say that my childhood was normal. Being the only grandchild for 6 years gave me all of the love and attention from my family. This puts in perspective why i've been treated like a Prince my entire life. Originally the void that Terry left was never felt from my standpoint. I can remember going to work at the Pizza Parlor with my mom smashing slices of pizza and playing arcade games. I recollect all of the nights spent at my Aunt Pearlie Mae and Cousin Eunice's house playing with cousins while my moms went clubbing. I can remember playing with my grandfather's vinyl’s and breakdancing in his living room. I loved the moments spent at my great grandfather's pool/liquor hall hanging out with drunkies and hustlers. Memories of playing at the waterfront and going to Savannah ring eternal. TERRY SEEMED IRRELEVANT!
My mom married Alfred Gardner in 1985 which solidified Terry's absence from my life. Before the nuptials my mom had to "pull teeth" to receive child support from Terry. This eventually simmered into several heated altercations involving both sides of the family. After reaching a boiling point my grandfather threatened to kill Terry if he stepped foot on his property or messed with my moms ever again.
Sometime in 1986 Alfred received his military orders and we were relocated to Havelock (or Cherry Point), NC. This was another world for me. I can remember bribing the kids in the neighborhood to play with me by offering them candy and popsicles. Needless to say at age 5 my friend list grew at an astronomical rate.
Later on that year Alfred and my mom sat me down and told me that he was adopting me. This was strange because I was calling him daddy since the inception of their marriage. They said that Terry was giving up his rights to me and that my last name would change from Daise to Gardner. I was reissued a new birth certificate and Terry's hands were washed clean of me in a legal sense. My parents constantly reiterate that if I want to meet Terry they could arrange the interview I would love to do.
So as I fast forward 20 years in time I've grown into a 26 year old man. Thanks in large part to my dad i've become a high school and college graduate embarking upon horizons many will loathe over. He helped to raise a respectful, caring and righteous Christian man that is endeared by many. Due to the respect and love I have for my dad I have never mentioned my desire to meet (interview) Terry. I feel like that would be a "slap in his face."
Although I carry no animosity towards Terry this meeting will bring closure to a one-sided chapter in my life. This meeting will sprout mixed emotions of gratitude, sorrow and anger. Gratitude because a more responsible man raised me which allowed me to form relationships with people I wouldn't have met otherwise. Sorrow because I felt being born a black man is automatically one strike. Being born a black man without a father dealt me a double whammy. Anger because he robbed me of a relationship with his 4 other sons. I love my brother Nicholas to death but its difficult to disguise the misfortune of not having that type of relationship with 4 other siblings as well.
So if this day were to ever happen I would ask Terry the following questions:
1)Why did you make this decision? In my mind it equated to having a living abortion.
2)Did you regret giving me up for adoption?
3)Would you do things the same if you had a 2nd chance?
4)Do you ever think about the son you let get away?
5)Do your other kids know of me?
6)Were you scared to meet me out of fear that I would hate you?
I would tell him that I've wrestled with meeting him for 11 years. Also I would thank him for being my source of motivation. Whenever I feel depressed and ready to give up I think about him giving up on me. I would thank him because i've gained 25 Father's as a result of his actions.