January of 1995 has no place in a history book. For most, it was a cold and uneventful month filled with post-holiday stress and snow showers. An unremarkable collection of days and nights. But for me it brought an irreversible shift in my ever changing world. At 6:03 pm on the last day of the year's first month -- my father's wife gave birth to a baby girl. Suddenly I was no longer my father's only child - I was simply his first try. I had firmly become the remainder from the division of his first attempt at a family. He, his wife and new baby made the perfect picture - and on occasion I was required to hang onto the frame and smile.
There are many differences between a full sibling and a half sibling - the least of which are biological. If my father had never had another child I would have been left to imagine what a life with him would have been like. I could have waxed poetic about maybe's and might have's. Instead I watched him parent as though it was a spectator sport -- and I admit that there were times when I was guilty of keeping score.
Another baby came along in June of '98 and brought with her new emotions for me to carry. My two half sisters were each other's whole -- and suddenly the space between us felt much further apart than the branches of a family tree.
My one father has three daughters. But I will get no second attempt. I will have no third try.
Somewhere, sometime ago after one too many beers my father told me that he often worried that I believed he loved my sisters more than he loved me. He was wrong. In all my 26 years I have never once doubted that my father loved me. I know to my core that he would step in front of a bullet to protect me, give his last breath to save me and demonstrate a variety of other hyperbolic gestures. But I have never believed, not for a moment, that he liked me.
I am the product of my mother's presence and my father's absence. I represent none of his ideals or values because he was not there to instill them. I am no reflection of my father on any surface deeper than a mirror. We share no common bonds beyond biology. I visited my father's house and my sisters were raised in his home -- and that has been the greatest difference.