My life early on was good. Even though my mom had me at 17 - in the middle of her senior year of high school, I was well provided for. Obviously my mom was there for me, but so were my maternal grandparents, and both sets of great grandparents, along with a few other family members.
My mom and I lived with her parents for the first couple years. My grandparents spoiled me immensely. They also loved me to the moon and back. It was really like I had two moms - Grandma and Mom. Grandpa was, and still is the strongest father figure in my life. He wasn't home a lot because of his career, but when he was I was the center of his world. At that time, I knew Grandpa was just my grandpa, but looking back on it now I realize just how much he did for me. My mom and grandparents made sure all my wants and needs were met. I couldn't have asked for a better first few years.
I think it was when I was about three, Mom and I moved out of my grandparents' house and into a trailer that was on my great grandparents' (my grandpa's mom and dad) farm. It was also around that time that I started going to preschool, and spending time at my cousin's house playing. My world was growing from just my life inside my grandparents' house.
As I was out in the world more, I became more aware of things around me. I began to realize there was more to my little world than my mom and grandparents. I can remember being at home in our trailer one day playing. I remember exactly where I was standing when it dawned on me that people are supposed to have a "dad". There was no one in my life that I called "dad". I can remember thinking it was strange. I wondered why I didn't have a dad. It was at that point that I first realized my life was different.
I don't think at that pint the longing for a father had begun. I can't imagine that I fully understood the role a father played in someone's life. I just knew it was something, or someone, that most people had, and I did not.
It blows my mind that at three and four years of age, I was having that kind of internal dialouge with myself. My son is four now, and I can't fathom him contemplating such life issues and trying to figure out their answers at that age.
I'm not saying the absence of my father ruined my first few years of life. It just laid the ground work for many issues that had come up later in my childhood, and still now in my adult life. As I come to grips with these issues, I realize they are things that need to be worked through. Some things I can fix with a little counseling and some self reflection.
Other issues are a little deeper. Some are a result of questions I have that I personally can't answer. Only one person can answer those questions and that's the reason for this journey.
Before having any information on my father, I was never sure if I needed him in my life. I knew I wanted a name, and most definitely a picture, but there was a huge possibility that was all I needed. That after having that information, I could close the chapter on that portion of my life. It's not like I'd be out anything if I decided not to search - I've went my whole life so far without him, so what's the rest of my life?
After getting a name and a picture, I new without a doubt the search wasn't over. I knew I needed more. I'm working on the issues I can fix myself, but there are still questions only he has the answers to. And then there's his arms. "His arms," you ask? Yes his arms, the arms of a daddy. Those are the only arms that can give me the type of hug and acceptance I've been searching for for 27 years. That hug and acceptance are two of the first things I do remember longing for.