from age 3 to 11, my nuclear family consisted of three muskateers: my mom, my younger brother and me. when i was a wee one, my mom caught my biological father cheating on her, made a tough decision to divorce the man and did the best she could to raise my brother and i. i was too young to remember the divorce. my brother and i were still babies. because my biological father was never really around during my formative years, i never felt like i missed out. i have fuzzy memories of weekend visits with him, but i don't remember him being present in the years before my mom met my 'dad'.
when i was 11, my mom started dating a wonderful man whom she married two years later. shortly after their wedding, my stepfather adopted my brother and i so as form a more cohesive family, all sharing a common last name. by the time of the adoption, my biological father had faded far away from my life. i later found out that he remarried and had another son and daughter.
just as i assume my biological father was building a home with his new family, i, too was growing up in a loving home with a really good guy who i came to know as my only father. i never felt like there was something missing in my life. my thoughts very rarely wandered to the man who had sired me. my folks had another daughter and son, who, although technically step-siblings, have never been anything but my beloved brother and sister, whom i have loved, tortured and protected in only the way a true sibling can.
two nights ago, i got a text message from my mom. "you're biological father called - he wants to talk to you. he wanted your number, but i took his instead." first emotion that rushed in was confusion. what does he want? ugh... i don't want to deal with this. so i put the phone down and forgot about the message until yesterday. i called my mom to get the scoop. "he and his son were in san diego and drove by the house (where i grew up) and i think he probably just wants to touch base. i didn't get any weird vibes." huh. i still felt pretty unsettled about the whole thing, but pushed it off once again in favor of hemming a dress i'd been working on.
this morning i woke up with terrible, flu-like symptoms and have been feeling like shit all day. i finally managed to drag myself out of the house to go grocery shopping and when i got home, i immediately retreated back to refuge of my bed. soon after flopping down, i realized that i was psychotically thinking about the ginger ale i just bought. i wasn't hungry or thirsty and my stomach didn't feel bad, but i really really wanted to have some of that ginger ale. as soon as i realized that my longing for the ginger ale wasn't driven by thirst, i tried to just be in that moment of 'need', to quietly sit with my emotions and try to recognize what was under the 'need to feed'. my thoughts immediately drifted to the text message from my mom. but i thought i was done with this? i don't even know this guy. i don't even really care to know him. how would i address him if i did call him? i thought i was totally fine with having no relationship with my biological father. so why is this bothering me?
i wanted to call my brother to get his take, but the pressure in my ears and my aching back muscles impeded my want. so i just laid there in the twilight. then the tears came. soft, quiet tears that bubbled up from someplace inside of me that i couldn't name. i didn't particularly feel grief or sadness. the tears didn't feel like they had anything to do with abandonment issue or loss of father. but they were present nonetheless. so i cried. just let the tears come out. no trying to explain them or justify them, just let them come. and when i was done crying i just laid there a little longer. i realized that i also wasn't psychotically obsessing over the ginger ale anymore.
i'm still kind of twisted inside about the whole incident, but a beautiful lesson came out of the whole thing. i allowed myself to be guided by awareness, and was rewarded with balance. i'm proud of recognizing my age-old avoidance method - stuffing instead of releasing - and consciously opting to change my patterns of self-medicating. perhaps the future holds a relationship between my biological father and i. perhaps not. more importantly, the future - and the present - hold a much more significant relationship: one with my healthy self. and that feels complete.