Written by [Name Witheld] (Part 1 of 3)
It's crazy how a phone call can change your whole understanding of your world in just 30 seconds.
Let’s rewind to that 10 year old girl that asked her mum where her dad was after she had been to a party and watched dads arrive to collect their beloved children. Up until then, she had never wondered where he was. It had always been her and her mum. She had wanted for nothing. Her room was decorated just how she wanted it and the house was always full of friends and laughter. By the age of 10, she had travelled much of Europe, Jamaica and The States. But that day, she realised something was missing.
Her mum sat her down and explained that she had been with a guy called James. They had stayed together for over 7 years. They were in love. When she told James that she was pregnant, he didn’t want to be a part of her child's life and she never heard from him again. Her mum explained to that 10 year old girl, listening so eagerly, that it was nothing that she had done and that she, her child, the love of her life, was all she needed.
That night they went out for pizza and that 10 year old girl was allowed to order anything that she wanted.
For 27 years, I hate hated this guy that had walked out on my mother. How could he not want me? What had I done? Was I not good enough? He knew I existed - why didn’t he come find me?
Throughout my teenage years, I created an image of him in my head. When me and mum would argue, I would cry in my room and pray that he would come, find me and take me away. He would never shout at me, never tell me off, never stop me from going places or stop me from doing the things that I wanted to do. In my head, he had big arms and gave the best cuddles.
In my 20’s, that image faded and a hatred grew in my heart. I didn’t want anything from him. I had completed my school life, uni and passed my driving test, all without him. What could he give me? I didn’t need him! This hatred grew steadily and my daddy issues began to surface. I found it hard to be around my friends who had dads in the home, never spoke to other people’s dads and resented those who had the picture-perfect family.
I felt like something was missing but I could never talk to my mum about it. How could I tell the woman who had raised me all by herself that I felt that something was missing? She had given me everything I had ever needed. She'd sacrificed her own needs for mine time and time again. How could I break her heart and tell her that she was not enough? I pushed the feelings away, buried them deep, put on a smile and continued.
At the age of 27, I had been living a decent life. I'd made plans for my future and was working towards moving to The States to complete my Masters in Theology. I had decided to pack up and start a new adventure. I was not planning on coming back to the UK. I was ready and focused... but there was one thing I needed to do. I needed to find my dad. It was now or never!
I didn’t want to move to The States, get married, fall pregnant then find out I was the carrier of some rare, random disease. So I decided, that was the reason I would give my mum to soften the blow. I needed to do all I could to make sure she understood that this was not about her as a mother, but about me and my identity. I needed to know where I came from. Did I have brothers or sisters? Did I look like him? Did I get my great sense of humour from him? Was he musical? Did he have big arms?
I mustered all the strength and courage in me, had a shot of rum and called my mums best friend to beg her to pave the way for me. 'I need to find James' I said. 'Why?', came the response. '...because he is my dad!'. There was a pause for what seemed like a lifetime before my godmother responded, 'James is not your dad.'.