Yesterday, some folks from Goose Creek, NC, piled into their car for the first leg of their trip to New York.
A couple from Kennesaw, GA, made copies of old family photos and started their trip north today.
Several others from various points of the map are also putting other of life’s obligations on hold so they, too, can be on Long Island by Saturday.
To meet me.
My “new” brother, Chris, and his wife are hosting a BBQ Saturday to introduce me to the family.
As in January, when I first spoke with my first mother, Pat, I am reeling with a mix of emotions too complicated to explain, let alone process.
They are coming to meet me.
Of course I’m a nervous wreck.
What if they think I’m weird?
What if they don’t like me at all?
Last weekend, at my godson’s graduation, I marveled that I knew the family dynamic there like the back of my hand. His mom, Jacquie, and I have known each other 29 (eek!) years, after all.
And of course I know how the dynamics of the Salvatores and Vaneches. I know when to keep quiet, where my opinion is welcomed or should be quashed (most of the time), whose politics are what, who can laugh at himself and who can’t take a joke. …
Here I’m walking into a clean slate. We all share DNA, but that’s about all I know. They only know about me what they’ve read here, or what Pat or Chris have shared. Still, they’ve given me a warm, hearty virtual welcome. Facebook is full of sunny messages filled with anticipation for the weekend.
Chris says I’m not allowed to say it’s weird.
“Just be yourself,” several friends have counseled as I fretted about what to wear, what to say, etc. They all have quickly added that I will certainly be loved.
I’m not so sure.
Ply Basil with the right amount of beer and he might admit that to know me is not to always love me (Catherine requires no nudging to give you the low-down!).
I am brusque and sometimes blunt. Impatient, relentless and occasionally overbearing (stop laughing!). Although I have a (very offbeat) sense of humor, I am all too serious much of the time, often quiet, stoic even.
What’s more, I worked as a journalist for more than two decades because I am far more comfortable as a fly on the wall than I am being the center of attention or even just socializing.
Worst of all, I tend to talk first and think later.
If one thing gets me in trouble time and again, it is my mouth.
I can’t help but worry: What if I’ve really stuck my foot in it this time?
Thanks to the help of a wonderful circle of search angels, I’ve found Pat and her family despite sealed documents and a New York state law that said I wasn’t allowed to ever know her. I stuck with the search for years, even when it seemed I might not ever know.
I rocked the boat many people urged me to leave untouched for everyone else’s sake (did I mention relentless?).
And here I stand on the threshold of finally getting a lifetime of questions answered, of understanding who I am and where I fit.
Wish me luck.