Okay…this post is going to be a little more personal than usual, but I really want to write about a recent experience.
Over thirty years ago, I was born. My mother wasn’t married at the time. I have never really known the details of the situation – except that she chose to have me, and she chose to raise me on her own. I know that she specifically asked my father to have nothing to do with me. So I never knew him.
A few years later (when I was four), I was adopted. I have never had the memory of life without a father.
Over time, my parents had three more children. Then they divorced. I have always stayed close to both of my parents. I have always stayed close to my siblings, but it was a little obvious that I had been adopted. No big deal, though. Really, I promise. I was happy with my family – but I can’t say that my happiness stopped my curiosity.
With trepidation, I contacted him, and to my delight, he’s a great man. He has been a great father, and he’s thought about me these last thirty-plus years.
The trip was really amazing. I met these people that I’m related to. It is still kind of hard to wrap my head around it. Mostly, being with them has made me think of the importance of family.
I think of my own siblings – the ones I’ve known my entire life, and I wonder if I’ve treated them the way that I should have. I know better, too – we’ve been through a lot! I’m struck by the idea that I have three sisters that I haven’t known for my entire life.
And I’m struck by the idea that I have two more sisters and four more brothers that I could probably be kinder and closer to.
I’m also struck by the fact that there are many people who have lost touch with their parents and/or siblings. Maybe they’ve been in a fight. Maybe they have just had too much time and distance in the way to keep up with their relationship…Whatever the situation, I realize that we do have to work a little bit to make it work. I’m looking forward to starting new relationships with the family that has always existed (without me knowing). I’m also realizing that I can do better to keep up the relationships that I already have.
When I was in New York, I gave each of these sisters a little momento – for meeting them – and for being so open to me – a long-lost sister. It was kind of touching. We were all talking, and celebrating our new relationship. I kept thinking about my other brothers and sisters, and I thought, What would it have been like to live my entire life without them. I realized that this sentiment is precisely what had happened between my new sisters and I. We had spent an entire life apart.
When I think of my own siblings, this is what I come up with:
Trips to PA
The Philly Phanatic
“It’s not an ‘it’s-a'”
Street Fighter Two
The Lady in the Toll Booth who screamed “AAAYYY!”
Getting car sick in my step-mom’s pocketbook
The bat that was in our house
fighting over the bed, and the blanket
My sister’s “talons”
Feliz Navidad (Don’t spill the drinks).
…and a lot more, but they are all “inside” things – that probably mean nothing to you – so I’ll stop now. But I list them, realizing, that there could be a host of other memories with these sisters that I’ve never known.
So – don’t take family for granted. I’m hoping that from this point out – I’ll take my own advice.