So remember how I left on a road trip in May because I needed some healing and quiet that only the road could provide? On dozen hour car rides I thought long about what was important to me, and what matters. I ugly cried over things I told myself I got over years ago and reflected a lot on who I am and what I want. To be honest, for a long time I didn’t even know what that was or what I was “looking for”— or at least consciously I didn’t. That is until I kind of begrudgingly took a paternity test with not even one of the maybe dads to that point. Just an old friend of my mom’s who would sometimes send me a birthday card. We sent in the swabs and didn’t hear anything for months; it slipped to the back of my mind.
Much to I think both of our surprises, the test was positive, which leads me to the point of this post. If anyone is interested, the complete version of how this all shook out will be in the book, I promise! I just can’t wait to give that the attention that it deserves to be done well to very proudly introduce my (new to me!) brother and sister!
When I found out a little over a month ago that Sean was my dad I had no idea that today I would be head over heels in love with kids I had yet to meet just one week ago. I really can’t get over how lucky I’ve been with the whole situation. Sean has been welcoming and warm. The kids and I get along amazingly. They are thoughtful, kind, sweet, funny, athletic, and unique. Their mom was generous enough to share her custody days so I could have more time with them while I was in town. She even texted me that my siblings adore me. This from my newfound dad’s ex-wife and sibling’s mother who does not have to be this wonderful with the whole thing and yet is. I have a grandmother, GaGa if you will, who on our first phone conversation learned our shared love of international travel, the Spanish language, and philanthropy. Down to the uncle who texted just to say hi and introduce himself; the entire situation has been about as pleasant as could be possible.
I told a dear friend how nervous I was to meet them and she replied with, “I didn’t know you knew how to be nervous” which is a very accurate assumption because it isn’t a feeling I’m familiar with, but I was so scared. I missed Mitchell so much more than usual. We’re still working out kinks, and there are awkward moments for sure, but that is to be expected. We’re working it out together as we go along. While still sticky, even Kyle’s, “My dad…. [side glance to me]….I mean dad…..” is precious because he is being so considerate with his words and making an active attempt to include me. Kyle, my handsome kid brother who is 6 feet tall and a three-sport high school athletic. Zelia, my angel full of personality and a future geologist! They are magic, and I couldn’t stop staring at them.
I plan on sharing more stories, but here are a few of my favorites from my few days meeting them.
“You look like me!” I vainly start wondering which of my lovely traits my adorable little sister is going to notice that we have in common. “You’re hairy like me!!” Yes, Z. Yes, I am.
We went ice skating one night, and I skated over to Kyle to ask if we could take a picture. He says sure and seems cool about it, so I snap a selfie in which he looks like I twisted his arm and stepped on his foot until he begrudgingly argued to take the picture with me. So I tell him that it won’t hurt my feelings for him to tell me he just doesn’t want to take a picture with me. He replies very sheepishly, “I do want to take a picture with you, this is just how I smile….. I can’t smile for pictures” He reaffirmed this when I opened a gift from Sean, a travel mug with pictures of the kids all over it, and Kyle pointed out that he is making the same awkward, forced smile in every picture which did make me feel better.
We even went on a few coffee and hot chocolate dates on the day they got to play hooky from school. We got for here mugs (because it adds too much to drink out of ceramic!) and hung out just talking and being silly. We were just being. Being siblings.
I know this is only the beginning of the journey and I don’t assume it to be 100% smooth sailing 100% of the time because stuff like this is big and a lot. But we seem to be giving each other the right amounts of space to process everything and kindness and laughter to start building real relationships. I know who my biological father is after 28 years. I’m mixed race. I have siblings. I have even more people to love and be loved in return. Best Christmas present ever.