I don’t know if you can be Cinderella in a pair of riding boots, but on Monday I sure felt that way.
I punctuated a weekend’s worth of birthday celebrations by meeting the woman who gave birth to me.
(Go ahead and read the previous sentence again. I met the woman who relinquished me for adoption 47 years ago.)
We had a long lunch — the first meeting after several long phone calls in which I’d learned that
- She’s been just 90 minutes away all this time
- I have two half-brothers
- She had not been looking for me, but had thought of me over the years and hoped I was happy
- There was just one other person left in her family that knew of my existence. Indeed, my call firmly set a decision at her feet.
Monday added more pieces of the puzzle — a process that will take time for us both. She told her sons about me, and they took it well, she said; could she see me?
At the restaurant, we got a kick out of seeing we’d both dressed in the same colors and wore similar earrings.
Like me, she laughs easily, and doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously.
We both can talk … and talk!
She shared pictures with me, pointing out enough relatives that it is clear I must invest in a white board to track them all.
Basil and Catherine met her briefly and later said that she and I share similar mannerisms and body language — that even our walk is the same.
In the above photo, taken by the restaurant hostess, I can see a resemblance I didn’t see in the photos she had emailed.
People keep asking me how I feel, if the day met my expectations. I don’t quite know how to respond.
Afraid of a final rejection, I’d kept my expectations low, and tried — as I did throughout my five-year search — to just be grateful for what I knew so far, just in case that was all there would be for me. I recognized that I was upending a lot of lives and knew it might not go well — at either end of the equation.
Today I am a bit overwhelmed, at once happy and wistful, filled with wonder and a bit of shock. I’m still pinching myself, for it must be a dream.
Six weeks ago, I was a secret.
Profuse apologies to everyone who has interacted with me this week. I am completely unmoored.
And if the day was a whirlwind of emotions, its coda was even more so.
I returned to Connecticut to find a Facebook friend request from one of my half-brothers, and then a long note that started “Hello Big Sis.”
We talked on the phone — a somewhat breathless conversation punctuated by silences while each of us tried to absorb it all. He joked that his wife knew he had “middle child syndrome” all along. I hope I will meet him soon (and have a proper conversation where I don’t sound like a ninny!).
Shortly after we talked, he posted on Facebook: “Spoke with my new sister for the first time tonight. I’m still a little speechless.”
What followed was an incredible outpouring of messages and friend requests from my “new” relatives — cousins and cousins-in-law, each of whom I had to ask: “WHO are you?!”
They were, each in turn, warm and welcoming, curious and kind. I needn’t have feared rejection after all.
“We will be with you forever now,” one messaged me.
I hope so.