When we talk about siblings, does blood relation really matter? When you have grown up together, taken vacations, made memories, shared literally everything down to shoes and clothes, had every meal together and teased each other through the years?
I was never taught that being full blood siblings mattered, (maybe that’s because all my siblings had different fathers except the oldest two) I was also taught that you never call them -half anything. In our house that was not okay. And I would get scolded if I ever called my sisters, half sisters and my brother, a half brother. So that was NOT happening and plus I never felt we were all that different growing up in the same household so I never felt like I should anyway.
I always felt there was something missing, someone else out there. I had this feeling since I was about 10 years old and I never really shook it. I didn’t dare speak about it and I really just thought it was my imagination or I was crazy because my parents would never keep a secret so huge. We were a family and who wouldn’t share something so big and important. I thought on about it and it just stayed with me. Although I didn’t know when I was about ten years old that a lot of people hold onto private things and secrets in families that you may never expect otherwise. Little did I know in a few years the cat would be out of the bag….
How it all began
A summer afternoon in the hot, sticky middle of July (I think it was 2002), I was at my grandparents house where my mother was staying and on the side battling her demons. I knew that house like the back of my hand. Since my grandmother passed several years earlier I had spent lots of time visiting and spending nights with my grandfather there. Easy to say I knew every nook and cranny of that old traditional yellow house.
But this day I noticed something new; I admired photos of an Italian woman and her husband holding their pretty young daughter. Or so I thought. These pictures popped up overnight it seemed. They were everywhere, cards, holiday pictures, baby photos of the little girl and a few pictures of the couple. I looked and stared but knowing how many close friends my grandparents had, I just thought nothing of it. The more time passed the more that “feeling” came back and now it was bugging me. I knew there was more to this story and eerily famailar couple.
I asked my grandfather who it was in the photos, “who is in those pictures all over the living room?” I asked. “Oh no one,” he said “friends of the family.” I called him out, I knew every ‘friend of the family’ and honestly I knew he was lying to me. I went to ask my mother immediately. As I asked the same questions, she froze, deer in headlights, stammering- searching for words…
She replied with something to the effect of. “yes she’s your oldest sister, and I gave her up for adoption.” She explained the whole thing and my memory still fails everything she told me, but it was the general response of “I could not afford to have a child, I was young, naive and yada yada….”
Before I knew it, questions by the billions came flying out of my mouth.
Who was she?
How old is she?
Where is she right now?
What is she like?
Will she like me?
Does she have kids, do I have other nieces and nephews?
(Which I thankfully did, a beautiful little niece)