Sorry for the length. My mom is what is politely referred to as a "serial monogamist." She first married halfway through college and dropped out to follow her husband's job transfer (in the early 70s). Apparently they didn't have the big talks before they wed. She's always said they divorced because he wanted her to be "barefoot and pregnant" and move back to his tiny hometown, which wasn't what she wanted. A few years later she married a man 20 years her senior, and from all accounts they were very much in love. Sadly, after a couple of years of marriage he died of a heart attack, and she was a widow at 27.
After several years single, she moved across the country for her own job transfer, where she met my biological father. I guess shortly after they got married he became abusive, and she was pregnant with me, so she left to move back to her hometown. When I was very little--probably under 2--she met her 4th husband Adrian. She had gained 80 lbs while pregnant with me, she was 36 when I was born, and her self-worth was pretty low (my aunt has talked to me about this). So, though he was more into her than she was him, they married. He had grown kids at this point, but he legally adopted me, and for several years he was my dad. I called him daddy; I was a total daddy's girl. Shortly after I turned 6, she met a guy she liked at work and we left Adrian. I think he wanted visitation but she apparently didn't want to deal with seeing him or something; she told him "I won't ask you for money if you stay out of our lives."
About 18 months after leaving my (adopted) dad, she met a guy through a dating service with whom she got serious enough to move in with. Kids were not his thing, but they married a few years later, and she was with him until I was 21 (I moved out at 18). She's had a couple of relationships since then, and remarried for the 6th time 3 months before my wedding in 2012, to a guy who she'd known 6 months.
The only stable man I had in my life was my grandpa, who died when I was 18. After I could no longer be a daddy's girl, I was a grandpa's girl. I never met my bio dad and though I wanted to, he died of heart failure when I was a teenager (which I didn't find out until years later). Legally, Adrian is still my dad, but the only contact I've had with him in 2 decades was a letter I sent him 5+ years ago, in which I said I wanted to get back in touch. His response was brief and rather typical of a guy: not good at writing letters. He did say my mom would be upset if she knew I'd contacted him, so it seems like he was hesitant to continue contact. I sent him a Christmas card that same year but never heard back.
H and I are talking about TTC in about a year; I'd like my kids to have a consistent grandfather in their life (FIL lives in another town). But I also want to have a relationship with the man whose lap I still remember falling asleep in, who was the center of my little-girl world. And I want to do it before it's too late. He's in his 60s by now, and if I don't make an effort now, I have a feeling I will read his obituary in the paper one day and be filled with regret. But how? Should I just send him another Christmas card, or another letter? What do I even say?