Yet Another Gift of Connection
I woke up to a different world this morning, and my head is spinning. I attended a PFLAG gala last night at Dan’s theater. My dear friend Brian, the choral director at UAB, was my date since Dan was working. We were having a lovely time, and then I happened to check my phone.
I opened my Facebook account, always looking to see who’s posted on either OGBF or the Bedlam Bloggers Collective. There was a message for me…I opened it and was blown away to find that my step sister had sent me a very nice message, and my step brother had friended me. In many families this would be normal, but in mine, it was a major happening. It seems they found me when I connected with one of my nephews.
I am the baby of my family…or at least that’s how I have always thought of myself. Actually, after my parents’ divorce, my dad remarried and had two more children, a son and a daughter. My mother was so hurt and threatened by Dad’s marriage and new family that I was never allowed to develop a relationship with these two people who share my blood and my history. I went on about my life, seeing them for the last time at my father’s funeral.
The messages from my step sister brought up so many emotions. She and my step brother are some of my last connections with my father. They know him better than I ever could, for better or worse. I would love to develop a relationship with them, would love to learn more about my father from them, would love to be family with them. I have already lost my oldest brother and oldest sister, and my remaining brother has distanced himself. I am thankful for a good relationship with my remaining sister, who I love so much. How wonderful to know that I might also be able to develop a relationship with my other brother and sister. It is such a natural thing in so many families…but my family is so fragmented, so fraught with issues.
I called Mom on the way home from the event and told her what had happened. She immediately went into the defensive mode I remembered so well from childhood, deflecting any positives from the connection, saying, “Maybe when I’m gone, you can all have a big reunion.” I understand that my mother’s issues stem from the deep pain of her divorce and the circumstances under which her marriage ended, but is time for me to let her issues with the past be her own and not mine. Andy and Leanne bear no fault in my parent’s failed marriage, and we deserve the chance to develop a relationship and be family. There can never be too much love in the world.
So now I am faced with rethinking my paradigm. I am no longer the baby of the family really…I have the chance to be a big sister to my newly found brother and sister, and I look forward to that. We have so much to learn about each other and from each other. Already I see that Andy loves to exercise and Leanne loves dogs. I wonder what else we have in common because of our shared genes?
The gifts of Facebook connections continue to grow. In the space of a week I have reconnected with another nephew and saw photos of great nephews and nieces that I haven’t seen in too many years. I have a lot to think about, and a lot to be grateful for. It is high time to regain a sense of family that crumbled long ago with divorces, deaths, and distance.
Life is always full of beauty if we will only look for it. I vow to never stop looking, hoping, and feeling gratitude for each person and experience that comes into my life. And, I think I’ll make a pretty good big sister. I have been fortunate to have a great role model in my own big sister, Linda. I will give it my best- I owe it to my family and to myself.