I've called myself an orphan ever since my mother died, when I was thirteen. First, I did it to take the sting out of it - though not knowingly. I mean, I said it like it was a joke. It was never funny, though. Normally, it just made situations awkward. Later, I said it because it was the truth.
Even before my mother died, I didn't really have a normal family. My mother and I lived together, my sisters - both being much older - had already started their families, and my mother's fiancé was only around on weekends because he lived two hours away. My mom worked full-time, sometimes holding down two jobs. I was alone most of the time.
I'd look at people interacting with their families and only understand them the way an observer could. I studied them like an anthropologist, trying to analyze how they worked. They were interesting, but not anything I longed for. They normally seemed more trouble than they were worth, and everyone I knew was hiding most of themselves from them (that may have been more related to the hedonistic lifestyle we were all living, but it was still all I really knew or saw). It seemed like they claimed to love people simply because they shared DNA.
Also, I wasn't completely without family. I have a sister who has kids. But, whenever she said she loved me, I've never believed it. She doesn't even know me. I don't love people I don't know, regardless of relation.
Instead of relying on the fickleness of genes, I built my community from friends. While most of those friendships have drifted away due to life and time, I still have some solid connections. And I love! I love my husband, I love my friends, I love my pets. I'm not some emotionless sociopath.
However, family ties became real a couple of months ago (written about here). Now, I have a father. He's not what I thought he'd be at all. And my god, but I have a fucking father!
We've been chatting back and forth through email and have built a rapport. I chide him for eating poorly, he tells me how proud he is of how I turned out. I cry sometimes because I hate how good that makes me feel. I'm living a family dynamic.
Now, we're talking about meeting - like real meeting in meat space.
Is it too late to have a father? When he says he loves me (which he does), does it mean anything? I mean, like my sister, he doesn't even know me. Is love automatic with genetics? If it is, does it mean I'm missing pieces somehow for not feeling it?
Is it pathetic to want your parents' approval when you haven't had parents most of your life?
When we meet, I don't know if I'll hug him. I'm not good with people I don't know touching me.