that were happening to me and around me, and changed the way that I viewed the world.
This piece of my life in particular has changed me the most.
At times growing up, I felt so lost and unloved and unwanted and broken, and other
times I felt so strong and confident and so full of love and forgiveness for all the things that
had happened. There were so many things in my past that I was part of, but had no memory of, no control of. Things that made me who I am today, but things that I felt so disconnected from. I wanted a chance to be able to prove my worth to the people that are my family, but
who were really strangers to me. It's such a conflicting feeling to know that I have people out there who are part of me or part of my past, and who I want to be part of my future, but
they are people I had never met. It's one of the most confusing feelings. I am not even sure
there are words to describe it.
Because I have two younger brothers that I grew up with, I am lucky to know the joys of being older sister. I love, love, love that role and the closeness that I feel to my brothers
made it that much harder, knowing that I had a little sister that I was disconnected from. I
felt robbed that I didn't get to talk to her, share life experiences with her, give her sisterly
advice, and that I missed out on having all the memories of her growing up, doing the crazy
things that siblings do together.
To top it off I have a father who I have wanted to meet, wanted to get to know, and never had that opportunity. It feels like part of my heart is sitting in a different place than the rest of my heart. There is still love and longing there but it's disconnected from the rest of me. Sometimes I would go through pictures and stare at the picture so hard hoping that there
would be some kind of memory, or connection made just by seeing their faces, that I would
know who they really were. I hoped that I would know what they were like, and that all the
pieces that were missing by not having the time with them would be filled.
When things finally looked like I was finally going to get to meet my sister and she was
heading towards the east coast, part of me started freaking out. I was so excited and I had all these ideas and plans in my head of how I wanted things to turn out, but not knowing what
she was really like, I didn't know how to figure out what to do together. I knew that my
father would be the one driving her out to meet me and I knew there was some reservations about how things would turn out. Understandable reservations. All the plans that were made for she and I to get together made sure that it was all about two sisters getting together and getting to know each other.
When she was finally on our way to my house she text me and let me know that my my father would like to meet me too. Every emotion possible flooded me. I had never felt so petrified in my entire life. I ran upstairs and wanted to scream and cry and yell all at the
same time. I looked in the mirror, checked my clothes and brushed my hair again. I
wondered if when he saw me, my home, my children, and my husband, would he think that I turned out good or that I was a loser I must have checked the mirror 50 more times
before they pulled up out front. I felt like I was getting ready for a blind date, when you are wondering if you're good enough for the person stick around or if they're going to cut the
date short because you were not what they were expecting. I wanted everything about me
that wasn't good enough when I was a baby, to be enough now, but I didn't really know what it was that was wrong with me, and I had no way of fixing it to make myself good enough for that moment.
I stood in my kitchen, watching out the window as my husband and my kids went over
to meet the two of them, shake their hands and bring them to the front door. I am not sure my heart beat a single time as I watched everything happening out front of my house. My
little sister walks in the door and my heart fired off one hundred beats per second. I had so much love for the stranger standing in my front door, that it took a lot of self-control not
squeeze her so hard that I'm sure her head would have popped off. Part of me wanted to
bury my head in her shoulder so I could just enjoy that moment and not have to remember
that there was another person standing behind her that I was terrified to meet. I wanted to
just take in the moment and see beautiful she was, how sweet her voice sounded and how
excited I was to be the big sister to this amazing young woman who walk through my front
I was expecting this huge wave of anxiety to hit me the minute I let go of her and had to see him face-to-face, but by some tender mercy, there was a smooth transition from
letting go of her to being introduced to him and hugging him and somehow, there was not the
awkwardness I expected there to be, hugging a stranger. Every feeling of fear, anger, and
uncertainty that I had felt for so many years disappeared for that moment, because I felt
relief, and quite possibly love, from both of them. As we walked up to the living room to go
sit and talk, I was again surprised at how smoothly things went. Even though they were
my family, they were strangers. Every time that I was worried there was going to be an
uncomfortable pause in conversation, I remembered that the two people sitting in front of
me were the two people that I wanted to know more about then I could possibly fit in one
day and that there would never be enough time for all the questions and information I was
hoping to absorb from them. And even though the time together did not last near as long as I hoped for, the peace that I felt when they were with me made it worth it.
Through all of this, I have tried my best to be as objective about everything as I can. I
wanted to go through each experience feeling each feeling and taking in each moment
without too many expectations. As children we have certain needs and expectations of our
parents, and every interaction we have together, shapes who we are. My children have been going through this experience with me. I have done my best to be honest without sharing too much and to open without putting their own feelings at risk. I have learned so much about
parenting through everything that has happened. I have had a million different scenarios run through my head, trying to change what has happened and what might happen, trying to
feel less pain, trying to cause less pain, and trying to make everything as simple as possible. But..... Life is not simple. It's painful. It's hard. It's messy.
But..... The things that we learn from the pain and the mess can be beautiful.
I will never stop wanting there to be more. More connection, more interaction, more love, and that will always put me at risk for more pain and hopefully one day, that love. What an
amazing thing I can teach my children: That life will never be easy but that we KEEP trying, that some people are harder to love and harder to feel love from, but we NEVER stop loving, and that the bravery it takes to do those things not only makes us STRONGER, but makes
life a worthwhile experience.