Becoming Acquainted with my half siblings was another item on my to do list after meeting my biological father. Another potentially awkward meeting.
Half Siblings: An Important Element of Blended Families
At my first meeting with my father, he mentioned my two brothers and sister. One brother still lives in Gastonia, N.C. He is being cared for in a home. He was involved in a horrific car accident that left him with brain damage. Deep within, I wish I had gotten to know him prior to the accident but fate took a different turn. Nonetheless, we met and had a very nice visit in his modest care home. It was comforting to find out that he had been told about me and in his own way, he made it clear that he was very aware of who I was and was glad to finally meet me.
My sister also lives in Gastonia, N.C. When we first met, she was disillusioned. She heard my runaway story and all of the difficult aspects of my life and suddenly thought that her job was to immediately rescue me in the present time. I didn’t need rescuing. I was not that lost soul any longer. As I thought on it more, I understood her urge to nurture and care for me. I also understood how she must have felt to learn of my disadvantages but was not there to hold my hand when I may have most needed it. While we don’t talk much these days, I recognize her as my sister and we are a work in progress.
Then there’s my brother Derek, the third half sibling. We clicked immediately. We both had tough waters to tread throughout life. You see, he’s gay. He confided in me that prior to his coming out, life as a gay man was not easy by any stretch. Especially when you’re raised in the church that is black southern Baptist rooted where your father is a deacon. There is no room for gays at all. We have had many conversations about his relationship with the family and how gaining acceptance has been a long hard road. I on the other hand was skating through life in an unhappy childhood. While our walks through life have been different, we both experienced difficult paths; consequently, we immediately formed a solid bond.
Since our first meeting, one way or another Derek and I visit with each other at least once a year between Atlanta and Maryland. He and his partner were wed as soon as gay marriage became legal in DC. They have expanded their family by the adoption of their foster son Jamari. I’m so proud of them. They remind me of me. Dedicated and driven to live an ordinary day in a not so ordinary life.
Today, I’m rarely in touch with my father, sister and brother back in North Carolina. The reality is that they moved in too quickly; tried to rescue me when I did not need it; and attempted to guide me spiritually. By the time our paths crossed, I had already been molded and that mold had been broken. I am who I am.
Have you met a long lost relative lately?