I saw and spoke to my biological father sans animosity for the first time in over a decade.┬áIn September I reached out to Buddha, my biological father. I had been “ghosted” inexplicably and decided it couldn’t hurt worse than I already felt to have a conversation. For more than an hour, I prodded and listened intently, trying my hardest not to sound combative. I asked and inquired and even answered a few questions, until I decided I had no further questions that day. Little did I know I would need his help.

I had been unemployed for about a month and a half at the time of that initial conversation. Unemployment Insurance denied my claim, but all my bill collectors still expected to be paid. I knew no one I normally lean on was in a position to help, so I remembered my Granpa’s words. “It’s “no” if you don’t ask” and just asked. He sent me what he could without hesitation. I was grateful.

So much so, while I was in Jersey over the Thanksgiving Holiday I made it my business to Thank him in person. If I learned anything in the month of November it was GROWTH. I could probably count on 1 hand all of our interactions in the last decade, most of which included me having 0 interest in anything he had to say. I was nervous to ask for the help I needed because of timing. Just when I began building with Buddha, I needed his help. I also wanted to be sure not to send him back down a path of illegal activity, with my survival needs as justification.

I’ve made so many new connections this year, who knew I’d be feeling positive about renewing this old one. He was quite happy to see me when I saw him on Monday and I paid close attention to the care with which he treated me. Opening doors, facilitating safe passage around a restaurant, escaping a conversation with stranger. It was this experience that solidified my desire to want to attend Jay-Z’s 4:44 Tour.

Aside from there being a show on my actual birthday, his bonus song Adnis and the accompanying footnotes was part of the reason I reached out to Buddha. For years I’ve been able to see humanity in those around me. Be it trouble students, or manic clients, or even administrators who feared for their jobs more than they care for their students. I had a hard time extending Buddha that same humanness. In my mind, he was just some logical person who chose criminal activity over parenting, and though I had forgiven him, I saw no reason to be more than cordial. That changed this year, and spending time together in person was huge sign of growth for me. What did you learn this GROW-VEMBER?