Family Ties…

I just got off the phone with my brother. This may not sound remarkable in itself, but up  until last night I didn’t even know he existed. I talked to my little sister last night. I thought she was a possibility–she was a name on a birth certificate that also bore my biological father’s name–but until yesterday I wasn’t sure. Now I am sure….

It has been a really crazy not-quite-24-hours! Let me give you a little back story here–I know, I know, we HATE back story as writers, but sometimes its necessary to get the entire picture!

My mother had me back in the day when having a baby outside of wedlock was considered a mortal sin. She stuck around for the first two or three years then split and I was raised by her cousin and her family. I was my mother’s only child, but I never knew anything about my father and I always wondered.  When I met my husband, I of course told him about my family history and my father’s name. He put two and two together and realized he knew my Uncle Lance quite well, as they both had an interest in Corvettes and went to the same functions. He offered to introduce us but I was terrified and declined.

Lance died in the early 90’s. I decided to go to his funeral on the off-chance that I could see what my father at least LOOKED like. He ended up sitting in a pew in front of me, close enough to touch. It was a very surreal day, but I realized a couple of things as I watched him interact with people. I didn’t really want to know him, and his family didn’t seem to like him very much.

In 1999 my father died. My husband actually saw his obituary and brought me the paper, saying “Hey–isn’t this your dad?” My uncle had passed away suddenly a couple of days before this, so I was pretty broken up over losing him, and this just really shook me. I always thought I would have time to find him and talk to him and now it was too late. So I did the next best thing and looked up one of the people listed as kin in his brother’s obituary and called her. She told me about other siblings and gave me a place to start.

Siblings. Blood siblings. Someone who shared the same DNA I did who maybe knew something about a father who wasn’t interested in having a daughter.  I was intrigued enough to spend a late night on the Internet looking for people with his name on their birth certificate. I found four, but that was as far as I got.

Last May I decided to go into Facebook and see if any of their names popped. I mean come on!! EVERYONE has a Facebook, right?! I looked for the boys, since they wouldn’t have changed their last names. I found one, who grew up in this area, with a sister who had the right name. I looked at her picture and I knew. This was my sister. No question at all–we even look alike! So I messaged her and waited. And waited. And then pretty much forgot about it. Until yesterday when her name popped up on my friend request and there was a message from her…

Since then I have talked with my youngest sister, who is about 20 years younger than me, and my brother, who is 3 MONTHS younger than me! I am so overwhelmed by all of this but in a good way. I have all these people in my life suddenly that are just like me! We all love music and sing and play instruments and love to have a good time! There are nephews and nieces to get to know and wow–my girls have cousins coming out of their ears!! so there is talk of getting together this summer to hug and cry and eat and sing and just get to know each other! How crazy is this?!

And I just got my Cherry family back together over on Facebook. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of doing it, but last week I went into groups and created a Cherry page and started replanting the Orchard. Cherries have been coming out of the woodwork! I think at last count there were 103 of us! The Cherries was a community of readers, writers, dreamers, professionals, housewives, students–anyone who loved anything by Jennifer Crusie. He icon was a cherry so she became The Cherry and we all picked Cherry names for ourselves. I went back into Yahoo Groups and retrieved the list and have been working on putting Cherry names to real names–it’s been a blast re-connecting with people, some of whom I haven’t talked to in years! Many were already friends on Facebook, including our own Cynthia D’Alba , but it has been awesome getting us altogether in one place where we can chat like we use to! (Ask Cynthia about fainting goats, chocolate Jesus’, and the climbing gecko vibrator…. if you dare!)

So it has been a week of family for me. Finding family, connecting with family, re-connecting with family. I have always said family is what you make it, and I seem to have made a pretty interesting one for myself!

So what is YOUR family like? Are you close? Do you have reunions, or do you pretty much keep to your own inner circle? Had anyone pop out and surprise you? Or were you the surprise? Care to share? I am hoping this will be an Oprah moment and not a Jerry Springer one–I can only hope, right?! I will keep you posted!